I’ve been thinking about blogging for about five years. A few years ago, a friend who knew I was thinking about it (and has long felt I needed to be blogging) prodded me with a gift, The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, and it sat on my shelf. My reluctance to enter the blogosphere hasn’t been based on feeling that I didn’t have anything to say—anyone who knows me knows that I have an opinion on nearly everything and don’t mind sharing them. Nor was my reluctance based on not liking to write. I LOVE writing! My concern has always been time. How on earth do I fit in yet another task when my plate is already full? Beyond full.
What tipped the scale for me was the realization that I was falling into the same trap that many of my clients, family and friends do—and I successfully coach them away from: avoiding action that you need or want to take because you don’t have time. It’s a particularly natty problem for companies that struggle to find the time to make improvement. To work on the business vs. simply working in the business.
Since there’s a clearly a limit to the number of hours in a day, individuals and organizations alike must adopt two practices that are arguably tough to do: brutal prioritization and “stop doing,” both of which I discuss at length in my new book, The Outstanding Organization.
The key to spending your time wisely is to first become extremely clear about your vision for the future. None of this “Well, I could do this… or I could do that…” You need to pick a clear position. Applying the PDSA (plan-do-study-adjust) cycle, you can always change your mind later if things aren’t working as you’d like. But begin by becoming extremely clear about what you wish to achieve.
Then you need to evaluate all that you’re doing and identify those activities that consume the time and psychic bandwidth you need to for the activities that will get you closer to realizing the vision of success you’ve established. Then, and here’s the hard part, stop doing. Difficult, but necessary. And, like adopting any new behavior or learning any new skill, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. If how you’re spending your time isn’t moving you ahead, it’s dragging you down.
So I’ve stopped doing a number of things to make the time for blogging and will continue to experiment as I apply brutal prioritization to my own life. I may slip some because saying no is hard for me. I want to do it all.
Two other “countermeasures” I’m experimenting with: delegation and writing faster. I’m growing my team so I have more people to do the tasks I still need to do but can teach someone else to do them. And I’m experimenting with new writing methods so I can write faster. But the greatest time gains will come from brutal prioritization.
So, welcome to my first blog post! I hope you’ll join me in the conversations I hope to elicit about stuff that matters to me, to you, and to the world at large. I plan to share, teach, provoke and maybe even rant a little. Like any new journey, I’m sure I’ll make a few mistakes and will adjust as needed. I look forward to your feedback and seeing how all this evolves. I’m starting with a goal of three posts per week goal, but may find that it’s not sustainable. The good news is that PDSA has my back. And yours. You can always adjust when the data indicates the need to do so.