Throughout our careers there are maybe just a few conversations that replay in our minds. They are words from people we respect. They tell us something we carry with us every day. They stick because they offer direction about how we want to live our life. And they replay because we really listened.
Too many years ago to mention, when I got the first promotion I really, really wanted, the big guy called me in. This talk was different than all the others. This time he was doing the talking. And to this day I remember his words. Control your time. Focus on what is important. Don’t let the day get away from you.
He offered this insight well before the information age began bombarding us. Distractions aren’t new and they are everywhere and ever endless. His advice – it is easy to be busy all day yet not accomplish one important thing. Manage your day, take control of what is important for you to be involved in, otherwise the day will control you.
Though I wasn’t always (or often) successful – his words often surfaced. Focus on the important – not the urgent. Do not be lured by cheap easy distractions of quick work. A recent article reminded me of this again. HBR: The Focused Leader . Daniel Goleman (of Emotional Intelligence fame) describes a triad of focus; you, others and the wider world. Think about your day today. What did you do that was important in each category?
And plan for tomorrow.