Saturday, October 23, 2010

Work and Thinking About Work

Some people claim they are incapable of multi-tasking. While I may not actually be capable of multi-tasking well, I have discovered that it is impossible for me to work and think about work at the same time.

It’s like trying to gaze at the horizon and reading the map in front of you at the same time. I can think about where I am going and map out a course to get there, but if I try to do that while I am navigating city streets and looking for a particular address, I’ll only manage to get lost while not knowing where I am going.

So, when I land at a conference with 750 of my closest colleagues and friends after a week of swimming in project minutia and entrails of e-mails and meetings, it’s really hard to pull my brain out of the grassroots and climb back up to ivory watch tower.

It took me at least a day to let go of the fact that I hadn’t returned a phone call to reserve a hall for an event taking place in December and start thinking about whether that event is really the thing I should be doing at all. Rather than feeling energized by the possibilities and ideas being shared at the conference - much less contribute effective ideas to the organizational strategic planning process - I felt frustrated, overwhelmed, and irritated that there was the suggestion that all the work I was currently working on was either for naught or missing critical pieces that would make it worthwhile.

And now that I am back, it is going to take at least a day to rid myself of all those big pictures and bright-eyed dreams and focus back down to the daily steps necessary to make anything happen at all.

Next time I’m going to have to plan in advance before I start letting people steer this cargo ship I have for a brain in new directions.

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