I thought that it would be interesting to post an excerpt from a live interview I did recently with a Google executive. She is clearly very successful, has advanced in her career and with all of that, struggles like we all do, to manage the tsunami of information bombarding her every day. I love what her take away "strategy" is for managing it all, so I wanted to share it with you.
For well over a decade, I’ve had the good fortune to work with overwhelmed, overworked, distressed and distracted business people (some of the best minds in finance, media, real estate, you name it — resumes a mile long and multiple degrees from Ivy League schools) who tell me that they’re stuck in an endless loop of accumulation without relief; literally hundreds of people, each unique in their strengths and personalities, but all alike in their desire to succeed and fear of the obstacle course that stretches out before them day after day.
I want to tell you a story about someone named John. John has an impressive résumé. He graduated from Michigan in 2011 and finished business school at Wharton in 2013. Since then, he’s worked in two different divisions of a Fortune 500 company and enjoyed a modicum of success.
Everyone agrees: the guy is super smart, experienced, business-savvy and brings loads of energy and enthusiasm to the table.
But somehow, John is just not living up to his potential.
In fact, if John doesn’t get his act together and start producing better results, you may have to think about letting him go. The problems are increasing and you are getting really frustrated.
This blog is for executives. I will define executives as any business professional actively involved in working today. Unless you're living on a desert island, you’re living the reality of the distraction of modern life while trying to complete the work that’s required of you. Take one of my clients, Adam, successful, savvy VP of a five million dollar Internet startup. His career is going brilliantly. He’s risen quickly through the ranks of his company. People respect and admire him.
But under the surface, Adam is today's quintessential distracted executive. He is anxiety ridden much of the time. He sleeps with his phone and wakes several times a night; checking his email afraid that something has fallen through the cracks. His voicemail piles up incessantly, and he can hardly bear listening to his messages for fear of adding more to his already untenable to-do list.
Another challenge to Adam’s productivity is the amount of meetings he must sit through each day. After speaking with him for the first time, I quickly calculated the number of hours he spent away from his desk, and came to the conclusion that a startling 70% of his day is taken up by non-negotiable meetings. True story! These meetings are often surprisingly vital and exciting and produce amazing ideas. But when 70% of Adam’s time is taken up by meetings, it means that he has 30% of his time leftover to execute on 100%. And while Adam is at the meetings, demands are piling up. Emails, voice mails and questions from his assistant ... you get the idea. He never quite feels complete or caught up no matter how many hours he logs in. It’s easy to understand why he feels out of whack much of the time.
See if you identify:
- Do you always know that there are many things you have to do today, but you find yourself fumbling from one to the other instead of having a plan of action?
- Do you feel that things are constantly flying in all directions, and you have no clue how you'll have the time to focus and prepare for your next meeting?
- Do you find that it is really hard to get back on track once you are interrupted or distracted from the task you are working on?
- Do you avoid making to-do lists because you don't know where or when to write them?
- Does managing everyday tasks - returning emails, calls, preparing for meetings - feel like it is going to push you over the edge some days?
If you do, there is a way out! We have to stop worrying about how overwhelmed we feel, how busy we are, and how we can’t seem to find the magic potion that will add an extra hour to our workday. We have to PAUSE and consider our priorities, our struggles, and ultimately, our potential. We have to admit that we are facing challenges, and we have to harness our own strengths to meet those challenges. It is each of our responsibility individually to do something about it. Our very life depends on it.
I am committed to helping people who feel just like you!
Please reach out for a free 10 minute consultation if you are ready to not live like this anymore.
There are solutions and simple strategies that really work! Ironic as it is, sometimes pain is the best motivator of all.
Have a productive day! Coach Nancy