In my study of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I encountered the concept of "Important But Not Urgent." Stephen Covey included charts for me to study, but the basic concept is planning ahead prevents crises and increases overall efficiency.
Well, I'm trying. I made my list at the beginning of the work week of Important But Not Urgent things. I've got it on a sticky note on my calendar. I keep looking at it, thinking "this is what I'm doing next."
And then someone hands me something else to do right now. By "someone," I'm referring to various bosses.
How can I be proactive when other people are planning my work life?
I'm not whining. I really want to know. Am I supposed to stay late at work without overtime pay to get my list done? Should I modify my list? How? How do adults handle such things?
'Cause that's what this proactivity stuff is all about, really: being an adult. I always thought I was. Boy howdy, have I been wrong.
Here's a bigger, meta-question. Has this happened all along? Is this my work life and I've just never bothered to notice? Since I've been trying to change my mindset, what I seem to notice more and more is a sense of falling behind, of trying to climb a mountain of loose sand. I can't get any purchase.
I'm hoping this feeling is illusory, that I am making progress, however small, which will ultimately lead to some kind of aha moment.
What I fear is a growing sense of the eternal nature of work. A pile of tasks continuing to infinity and beyond. That's enough to make me want to drive into a parked bus.
Oh well. I like my job most days. I'm guessing these are growing pains and I'll stretch them out eventually. Besides, it's Friday. I'll have a whole new set of Important But Not Urgent things to work on for the weekend.