I am not sure if they still do this on TV, but in times past, when there was important national news, an announcer would break in with a statement like, “We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this important message.” Perhaps the president was speaking. Perhaps they would relate a recent tragedy. Whatever the cause, you knew that this was important—important enough to preempt your favorite show.
It happens at work too. A boss has an important project. There is an unexpected crisis. Perhaps an opportunity has presented itself. In any event, the crisis forces you to shift gears and deal with the urgent.
This happened to me recently. I was minding my own business. I was enjoying my slower summer pace when I was blindsided by a project I did not expect. So, I addressed what needed to be addressed. I dropped everything I could (short of eating and sleeping) and I focused on completing the project. I put more than three business days’ labor into the project in less than 48 hours.
The ironic thing is that before this project demanded my attention, I longed for focused-time but I never could seem to find it. Now that I had to get this done, I had complete focus. And, I amazed myself with what I completed in a short period of time. I got into the zone. I even found it enjoyable, though tiring.
As I slowly got back on track at work, and I was thinking about preparing this week’s lesson—a follow up to last week’s lesson about morning activities—I realized I had just lived a lesson, and it was too good not to share. I could see how that which I learned about productivity enabled me to move through the project faster, and this allowed me to return to normal life more rapidly.
We will get back to our regularly scheduled program next week. Right now, I want you to answer the following questions:
• What would happen to you if you were hit with an unexpected project that required 12 to 15 hours of focused concentrated effort?
• Would you be able to get it done quickly?
• Would it linger for days or weeks?
• What would happen to your other business in the meantime?
• Do you have the margin to make such a project happen?
• Have you learned anything about productivity in the last seven lessons that will enable you to do it faster?
What About You?
What would happen to you if a crisis forced you to refocus your efforts? What tools do you have to address such a challenge?