Monday, January 5, 2015

Warning: Truth Hurts

By Brian Kopack

This won’t be a New Year’s rah-rah post – more of a “don’t make it to this time next year and still be thinking about thinking about it” reflection.

I hadn’t been at Price Waterhouse very long when a manager told me two things that have stuck with me for 20+ years: (1) read 30 minutes each day, and (2) don’t ever complain about being busy.

She told me, “It doesn’t matter what you read, just read something.  Find the time.”  She was right.  

The 2nd point was a no-brainer.  In public accounting, everyone works hard.  Everyone is busy pretty much all the time.  No one wants to hear about it.   Complaining doesn’t make it better.

Last Monday was a déjà vu moment.

I read a piece by Dina Kaplan.  I don’t know anything about her.  I’ve never read anything else she’s written.  I can’t even tell you how I found the post.  What I can tell you is – it was really great.

She started simply enough – a friend told her he was too busy to read.  Then, it got interesting.

It’s now 5 days later and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Busy and lazy are linked.

Think about that.  An uncomfortable truth – personally and professionally.

Not exactly breaking news - it’s easy to complain and make excuses and settle for being less than your best.  It’s hard to do something about it – to make a change.

Leave the personal life-coaching to Oprah.

Examine the business angle.

The “too busy” feeling is unfortunately all too familiar.  Too busy to think, plan, change, dream, improve….  Kaplan wrote, “…being busy has become a refrain and rationale for the things we don’t do, an acceptable and even glamorous excuse.”

There you have it.

Kaplan continued, “If you are in charge of a company or division, it is lazy not to think about processes to make work less busy.”

There you have it, again.

If there is a better way and you don’t try it, or if you can’t do it by yourself, but you don’t try and find a partner to help, what’s the excuse?   Stop with the “I work better when I have a lot going on.”  How much better would you work if you were in control of your time and your effort?  What if you could focus on your highest value work?

The key is being in control of how to process information.

I doubt Kaplan intended her post to be about information management, but it’s a nice parallel because life is about information management.  Your whole life is password protected.  Your level of personal and professional engagement is directly related to your comfort level managing the technology that manages information.  The less confidently you feel you can use technology, the more likely you are to feel disconnected - like technology is something holding you back instead of propelling you forward.

At IOS, we would tell you that we understand the technology, we have the people and most importantly, we have ideas to help make you great at managing your information.  That’s the polite way of telling you that we are great and making you greater. Combine technological expertise with agility and creativity and guess what?  Less busy, more effective at controlling your day and better positioned to do the work you should be doing – what’s important instead of what’s the most urgent.

What a concept.

Thanks for reading.  Do something good to start the New Year – pass it on.

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