“Discipline is doing what you really do not want to do, so you can do what you really want to do.” ~John C. Maxwell
“When you have a number of disagreeable duties to perform, always do the most disagreeable first.” ~Josiah Quincy
We all want to do the wild and crazy things that change the world of our company, those are the fun things that highlight how much we can contribute to the greater good of the company. But we were hired or promoted to run the day to day of a department or divisions first. If we are not careful, the day to day management of our department can get away from us while we work on our “pet” projects, and eventually lead to the .
Now I am a big proponent of all employees spending time working on the company’s biggest problems, but there is a time and place for everything. As the title of the post indicates, you have to take care of your “primary” job duties first, before you start tackling other things. But don’t fret, there are a few tricks that I have learned in a long career of tackling my job duties AND tackling issues in other departments or the corporate level. The main thing is to: Manage your time and focus. You can do that easiest with a few ideas:
- First thing in the morning get ahead of your vegetables – Like having dinner before dessert, you MUST tackle your departmental job duties right from the get-go. This also allows you to get as many things started and toward completion as possible, leaving the potential for downtime later that can be spent on things that are more fun.
- DEFINE moments during the day when you can play – Finite amounts of time during the day restrict you from spending the “whole afternoon” on something other than your primary job focus. They also focus your efforts during that time.
- Take notes of thoughts you can come back to – Writing down ideas or thoughts gets them out of your head until you are ready to properly deal with them. This has also served me well when coming up with ideas for my day in day out duties. You can focus on what you are doing at the time, then come back and focus on the idea later.
- The end of the day is yours – Take care of your business during the day, and whatever time is left over at the end of your day is yours to do with as you please.
So by all means, have fun tackling the biggest problems in the company. Just make sure you have taken care of your work first.