Monday, December 23, 2013

Doing Less and Being Selfish in 2014

I have never been one to create New Year's resolutions. This may seem strange as I am a huge "goal setting person" in business. Maybe that's why I don't do resolutions at the end of December, because I do them during the year.
This December is different. I am making a resolution, but not your typical one. For this coming year I want to do less and be selfish.

That might seem a little vague and maybe even odd at first glance. It's really not. Up until this September, I always seemed to be over scheduled, too busy both at work and with work related activities (boards and volunteering). I am not one who generally sais no to an invite to network or help out.
HR executives become adept at always doing for others and never saying "NO". In fact the more you do for others and say yes, the faster you get promoted. But the unanswered question is: Who's looking out for me?

As I have reflected on my past 30 years of work it has also been clear that at least 30% of an average week is wasted with low value interactions and tasks. I have learned  the past few years to shut out and ignore people and work when I am focused on accomplishing a target or goal. This might only be for short periods of time, however I have found that by doing so I get my work accomplished with better results. People around me sometimes think I am ignoring them or being rude, when in actuality I am just staying on task.
I used to put a premium on multitasking, for myself and staff. That's all changed. For one there are way to many distractions, especially email  which may be the most overused business tool ever created. Most people don't really multitask. what they do is much like working on a computer. You open up 6 or 8 programs and documents, you work on one at a time occasionally moving back and forth between different ones. You never really working on more then one thing at a time.

The reality is it would be better to work on one task and finish it, check it off this list and then move to the next one. Of course the list will shrink and grow through out the day and week.

We live in an age of "cc'ing". Everyone seems to be copied on everything. Even worse everyone thinks they then have a say. Doing less includes less cc'ing, and less emails. It also includes spending less trips to the phone and pc to check emails. The average adult checks their phone and email over 100 times a day for messages and texts...that's just crazy. I am not advocating a Tim Ferris (4 hour work week author) email check once a day, but maybe 4  or 5 times max. If you check every 2-3 hours I doubt anything super critical will be missed...So I will be doing less email checking and email sending in 2014.

I do a lot of volunteering including sitting on 2 boards, running a networking group for senior HR leaders, speaking at conferences, helping out at the business school I teach as an adjunct at and doing editorial review for HR  industry periodicals. This year I will be doing less volunteering. I believe strongly in giving back so I will not give this up completely. Sometimes It bothers me that others don't volunteer. Its not an obligation, and some folks are selfish from birth...It used to bother me back in my early days of volunteering on the local soccer board that 15 parents did all of the planning for a league supporting 1700 children. Most of the parents would rather write a check then give a few hours of their time.
So in 2014 I will role off one board and  will cut down the amount of time at after hour business events.  I will keep the rest for now...without volunteers where would the world be?

As far as being selfish, I am not sure if there is anything specifically that I will be doing for my self, except maybe trying to gain back some time each week for me things.

I want to write a "Change This article". I want to do a Tedx talk on changing the way colleges educate and operate. I want to loose some weight.

To do this I need to be selfish and do less!

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