Have you ever found yourself reaching a good, productive rhythm at work, only to see it slip away again under daily and weekly pressures?
Since my concussion two years ago I have struggled to be as productive as I once was. Sure, I still get a lot of work done – After all, I did write a book while recovering from the concussion. However, I am very aware that due to my continued symptoms, I have less time to get meaningful work done.
As I’ve written about in my book The Ordinary Leader, my approach to getting meaningful work done has been to protect my mornings from meetings and the distractions of work that feels urgent, like phone calls and emails, but isn’t as important as other work. Mornings are when I’m sharpest and have the most focus, and thus I’ve tried to protect that time for working on things that really matter.
However, in the last few months I have been travelling and speaking a lot, and this has cut into the number of mornings I have to work on important projects. In addition, partially because of my travel schedule, on the mornings I do have available for work, meetings and those other urgent tasks have started to creep into my mornings, further taking away from my most productive time.
After working two weekends in a row just to keep up, I was growing frustrated that I couldn’t seem to stay on top of things as well as I was accustomed to. I decided to take a step back and look at my calendar for the past couple months. Sure enough, in the previous few months I had hardly any totally-free mornings to work on important things.
After this realization, I recommitted to keeping my mornings free from meetings. It’s refreshing to look ahead at my next month and see I have significantly more mornings to work than I had in the last month.
I know that most of the meaningful and significant things we accomplish take hours of uninterrupted time. Accomplishing tasks that really matter is rarely done in short bursts of time or at the end of a long day. Completing the tasks that matter, that really will help your organization thrive, requires focused and uninterrupted time.
I had neglected protecting my mornings for this type of work, and as a result, my productivity suffered. In the first few weeks since I’ve had this renewed focus, I am already more productive.