So, yeah, it’s been a while. You know the song: “I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to do, well, anything but work.”
In their article in the Harvard Business Review entitled Beware the Busy Manager, Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal argue that most of us managers are more like the proverbial headless chickens than productivity machines:
Managers will tell you that the resource they lack most is time. If you watch them, you’ll see them rushing from meeting to meeting, checking their e-mail constantly, fighting fires. Managers think they are attending to important matters, but they’re really just spinning their wheels. For the past 10 years, (we) have studied the behavior of busy managers, and the findings should frighten you: Fully 90% of managers squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities. A mere 10% of managers spend their time in a committed, purposeful, and reflective manner.
According to Bruch and Ghoshal, you need to things: Focus (“Think of focus as concentrated attention – the ability to zero in on a goal and see the task through to completion.”) and energy (“Think of the second characteristic – energy – as the vigor that is fueled by intense personal commitment.”).
In other words, you need to cut through the distraction of e-mails, phone calls and meetings (good luck) and keep you energy levels up to that you can stay alert and focused.
I gotta go. I got a wad of e-mails to sort through before the Monday staff meeting.