I don’t need to tell you that things are busy at work. You know it, feel it, live it. There is more work and fewer people to do the work. Your email box has reached its limit. You are continually asked to go faster. You are connected during work, after work, and perhaps on your vacation. You are bombarded with new information, processes, and industry breakthroughs.
No matter your industry, the story is the same. Restructuring, reorganizations, market changes, technology innovations and globalization have resulted in more work to be done by fewer people in shorter time-frames. As a result, many of us relay on three strategies to manage:
WE GO FASTER
We speed up, sometimes to warp speed. We dash between meetings. We charge through our work and personal life at top speed, barely able some days to catch our breath.
WE HUNKER DOWN
We come in early. We stay late. We eat lunch at our desk. Or we skip lunch. We take work home. We continue to find time wherever we can to squeeze in one more thing.
WE FIND PRODUCTIVITY SHORTCUTS
We multi-task. We automate our inbox. We download new apps and implement new technology. We search for ways to shave minutes, and sometimes seconds, from any “to do” list.
Any of these tactics, in the short term, can work. There are days we need to speed things up a bit. There are periods of time where we just need to hunker down and get through a busy patch. And who does not love to find ways to do routine tasks quicker and easier?
Our problem is that we are in a perpetual state of change, speed, and turbulence. No matter how fast we go, we are unable to go fast enough to outrun it. We can only stretch ourselves so thin until we have nothing more to give. None of these three tactics are sustainable over time, especially when just as we speed up, our world does too. …