Do you have those days when you have meeting after meeting – and the ‘action items’ that always seem to come after – and then you get back to your desk to find you have more voicemails than time to get back to the people plus a line of team members who have been lurking in hopes to see you between meetings to get an answer or follow up on previous action items? And then you go home and don’t have time to make dinner plus eat it before there are other activities to do/attend/lead/prepare for? And then fall into bed and your brain laughs at you – sleep, I’d love to, but you haven’t given me a moment to myself today so I have a lot to mull over here and this is the first moment that you’ve given me so we are definitely not sleeping yet.
Whew, hope you followed me through that long, run-on paragraph. Most of us would rather be busy than idle, particularly at work. Idle time at home is often bliss, but at work it is frustrating. Crazy busy is a completely different level – the one that leads to stress diseases and burn out if it is sustained. I’ve been bouncing up into the level between good busy and crazy busy. (Glad I haven’t been crazy busy since an SAP implementation project a few years ago now.)
I don’t have a name for this level but I find that it leaves a lot of clutter in my mind – the half formed idea to resolve an open question from a meeting two days ago that died because I didn’t get back to it in time, indeed I piled other half formed ideas on top of it from other meetings. Now the desiccated idea is just taking up space in my mind. Alongside a hyperactive to-do list that changes every other minute. And barely formed thoughts on future tasks that are strewn about like Legos waiting for an unsuspecting barefoot walk through the room. (For those of you who have never lived with a Legomaniac, this is like stubbing your toe only it is the bottom of your foot.)
In Toastmasters contests, there is a minute of silence while the judges think about the just completed speech and write their notes before the next speech is introduced. Imagine how nice it would be in the office to have fifteen minutes to a half hour to at least start to flesh out thoughts and ideas that come out of meetings before your load in something completely new with the next meeting? It would be refreshing, yes?
I finally get the point of study hall in high school – I thought it was supposed to be social time (and I never was lucky enough to have any of my friends in the same study hall hour), sometimes doing a bit of work but mostly just pulling out a book and reading. Now I get that it was time for students to make a bit of sense, organized our thoughts around what we had learned that day. Make it our own, connect the dots. Prevent this clutter in our minds.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we got study hall time at work in between meetings? As for home, we are each on our own to manage that clutter in our minds. Share if you have a good method.
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