We easily lose sight of what is work. As our days fill with messages we can feel like we are working but the real progress escapes us. Make sure you are advancing the work that needs to be done.
In the ancient days of the 1980s and 1990s the artefacts of a busy day was memos. In this millenium, work has been defined by email which has become for many a form of workflow, even the only form of workflow. Inbox Zero advocates have driven people to see productivity in moving everything that comes in by email to out. In this process we handed our productivity to the service of others.
Now our days are filled with the relentless ping of chat. Across multiple channels, solutions, devices, our days can feel productive as we ping our responses back to updates, queries and discussions. These synchronous demands consume our attention and our time. Instead of conversations, they can become blizzards of tactical directions. Like memos and emails beforehand, chat feels like work. However, chat may not always be the most productive choice.
What is the goal?
Much productive work is either asynchronous or much more deeply engaged. We create best in iterative asynchronous loops that allow time for reflection, inspiration and experimentation. We achieve deeper understanding and solve problems in rich and long conversations that have the time and bandwith to get to the heart of issues, under the surface status. We help others by taking the time to really understand their needs and desires through conversation and collaboration. This is the work that creates sustainable value. This is the work that changes the trajectory of outcomes, businesses and lives.
Time and attention is required to move beyond chat to conversation and collaboration. Continuous chat can be a distraction from the real work that we need to do together to create the future. Make sure you haven’t confused the tool of work with the result. Make sure you allow enough time and space in your day to be truly productive.