Determined to do a much better job than I did last year of managing myself, I searched for technology that could help me. I tried a few time management apps and finally found one that seemed to work for me.
I started posting everything I thought I should do just so I didn’t forget. It was all organized neatly into categories based on my strategic goals. It all made perfect sense. In the beginning I was very productive and couldn’t believe how much I was getting done each day
Then things took an unfortunate and unanticipated turn. The list that had been motivating me, had gradually begun to feel like that bad tasting medicine your mom made you take when you were sick. It was awful, but you took it anyway only because you believed it would make you feel better. So I kept trudging along.
My “to do” list had become like a tyrant stomping the passion out of me daily in the name of productivity.
I had gotten so focused on the tasks that I lost track of why I was working so hard.
And then I had one of those “aha moments” – I realized I had actually been micromanaging myself. Micromanagement is inevitable when you focus people on tasks alone and fail to help them stay connected to what they are really at work on and why it is important. It just had never occurred to me that I could actually micromanage myself!
The real goal of using a new process and tool was to increase my productivity. Except I forgot something very important along the way.
Productivity is not about the number of tasks you cross off your list, but rather the progress you make toward your goals.
The key for me has always been to set intentions – simple, clear, compelling intentions.
The problem wasn’t that I had too much to do and had to find a way to be more disciplined to get it done. The problem was that my intentions were not clear and focused enough to guide my actions and motivate me to keep doing the work one day at a time that ensured I made meaningful, satisfying progress. While I still need a list, a clear and focused intention keeps me on track naturally doing what I need to do. For me, the list is there so I don’t forget some of the details.
This year my intentions are back in writing the script, with my trusty to do list back where it belongs – as supporting cast.
What about you – have you ever fallen into the trap of micromanaging yourself? If so, how did you find your way out?
A special shout out to my friend and colleague Dana Theus because it was her program on Intention Setting that really helped clear the fog and set me up for what has already been an extraordinary year! She is doing some really amazing work so go check her out at InPowerWomen.com.
Also, in case you are interested…I still love my time management app – it’s called OmniFocus. If you have an iPhone and/or iPad it is worth checking out. Thanks to my friends Robyn and Juergen over at Polymash for continuing to enlighten me about the mobile world!
Image credit: Krisdog / 123RF Stock Photo