Have you seen this scene (or one just like it) on TV or in a movie?

The young detective really cares about solving the case. He is going above and beyond the call of duty to nab the killer. He doesn’t sleep nights. He is constantly thinking about what he can do to solve the crime. The pressure is starting to get to him. He makes a mistake, he cracks. The police captain call him into the office is says, “Take a week off. Clear you head.” “No, I can handle it,” says the detective. “This is an order not a request,” says the captain intensely.

When you work for yourself, who is going to tell you to take a vacation? How do you know that you need a rest?

I got that signal a few weeks ago, when my hard-drive crashed. Yes, it was time to take a few weeks off from thinking, from the routine, from my prioritization, from my systems, from my to-do list and from my email. Wow, what a time it has been!

  • I learned how and where the automatic pilot way of doing things doesn’t serve me
  • I learned how much of a slave to email I really am (and how much of my day it takes up)
  • I learned how much more I can get done with out my to do list
  • I learned how a 3-day backpacking trip is an amazing catalyst for ideas and for writing
  • I learned that when I am in catch-up mode, I am much better at prioritizing and ignoring what’s not important
  • I learned that I want to recommit to prioritization and my agenda consciously

This timely excerpt from Seth Godin inspired me to further look and change my systems and my agenda:

At work, where does your list come from? Do you answer emails by date received, by urgency, by sender? Who decides that? Which blogs do you read, which tasks do you do?

The biggest challenge, by far, is one of agenda. What do I do now? What do I do next?

What tends to get done is what’s urgent, not important–you’ve heard that before.
I think, though, that with the new tools and new leverage available to us, the decisions get even more important.

Because we do it every day, we tend to take it for granted. We assume our agenda is exactly the right one, and we tweak it, we don’t overhaul it.

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How about placing the overhaul of your systems and of your agenda at the top of your agenda?