I just finished leading a difficult year long project for a volunteer organization. This effort took place outside of my normal work responsibilities. When finished, my days felt strange. There wasn’t much to worry about, in the short term, about this volunteer organization.
It took a month for me to adjust to my new normal where I could spend more time on growing my business. What I found in the last few weeks was that I am, once again, doing some really good work within my own business. I realized that my year long difficult volunteer project had split my focus and distracted me from doing any significant things for work..
This volunteer project became just clutter in my mind with respect to work. In and of itself, it had great value. It quietly grew, consuming more of me because of how difficult it was. There is just only so much that we can do. As humans, all of us have a limited bandwidth.
During this project, that awareness never occurred to me. I felt strong and kept telling myself that I had the ability to do both well. I was proud of what I accomplished and felt that my time spent on the volunteer project was meaningful and helpful to those within it. Work seemed to be ok but there were no visible signs of continued improvement.
It’s the awareness of our clutter in our lives that is hard for us to attain. We get fooled in our days by activity that either has no purpose or that has value but takes us away from things that should have a greater payoff in our lives.
Productivity isn’t always about how many things we do in a day. It sometimes involves finding the quiet time needed to find the clutter in our lives that is draining our ability to focus and succeed.