A couple of years ago while I was in London I went to the theatre, I am not quite sure of the title anymore but I remember the plot. Mrs Wilberforce was a lovely old lady living by herself near Kings Cross station. She was extremely vigilant of what happened on her street and she would call the police every time she witnessed a suspected behavior on the neighborhood. She was so cautious that it became really funny when she couldn’t understand that the men to which she rented a room on her apartment was preparing an assault to a nearby bank. Everything happened right in front of her eyes but nevertheless she couldn’t see it.
Why can’t you see what is right in front of you even when you want it so bad to be true?
Because most of the time you are so busy doing other stuff, especially small unproductive tasks that you miss the big things, may it be a small, but effective, change on you business that will boost you leads more than 30%, may it be some weird situation a coworker is going through, may it be a new opportunity.
I am driven by goals, I enjoy having a task list and go through it and when I am successful I go home with the feeling that my day was productive, even if the only thing I did was a load of tasks that no one benefit from. I have one particular problem, as a software engineer I tend to feel that my code can always be better, so I keep on coding some feature, sometimes to the extreme of performance, style, documented code whatever, just because I can’t let go. The same thing with debugging, if I am working on support and I already used the stipulated amount of time but I am still after some bug and I feel I am close, I can’t let go it’s like a game. In fact there is nothing wrong with it as a developer thats my job, but I am, at the same time, the business owner so I can’t be coding indefinitely for a client without charging, and I need to be able to choose what’s important and relevant from the what’s accessory.
So what I came to realize is that I may be busy but I am not effective, I may feel great on boosting that peace of code, but at the end the client does not realize and does not benefit, the truth is that I am focused on myself and not on whats best for my client and ultimately for my company. Worst, while I am doing that I feel that I am an extremely busy person with no time for more projects or personal life or that I don’t have any new business ideas when in fact I am just playing around with what is accessory doing little with little impact.
Realizing this had a great impact on how I organize my day, when I choose to do something I generally ask the questions:
- Is my client benefitting from this?
- Is this really necessary?
- Does this belong to scope and is on budget?
If I get only one yes it’s a no go.
Mrs Wilberforce was constantly looking to a different direction, I was constantly filling my day so I could feel I was doing something good without thinking if this was getting me where I want. If you take the time, look at you day and see the same pattern please try this: Stop the cycle, think before you act, define the questions that make sense for you and always choose to do whatever takes greater impact towards the dream you want to start living.