Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Killing Cockroaches

Do you ever get stuck in a rut of crossing the easy things off your to-do list but neglecting those larger items? Or focusing on those issues which are the loudest, but not necessarily the most important? I know I do; after all, it is so much easier to take care of those little things first or those things that are in your face. What a sense of accomplishment you have when you've done ten things instead of just barely scratching into one. Of course, that often isn't productive as the larger, more important issues keep looming.

Yesterday Penelope Trunk wrote about Killing Cockroaches, Tony Morgan's book focused on leadership. She was interviewed for the book, particularly regarding time management. What's the killing cockroaches part all about? Basically when Morgan was a city manager, during an important meeting he heard a woman down the hall screaming about a cockroach. He left the meeting to go down that hall to kill the cockroach. As Trunk puts it:

Really, all time management discussion is about this: How to know when to kill cockroaches and when not to. It's about why we spend time doing small, stupid stuff that crawling around in front of us instead of the stuff that makes life meaningful.

Other than working on a few presentations, lately I've been spending much of my time killing the cockroaches. I really need to look at the level of staffing in the commons at our benchmark institutions, but I haven't settled down to start doing the research. I need to do some long-term planning for our video windows; lately I only run about a month or two ahead on exhibits. I have a list of promotional ideas that I've put on the back burner, some since we opened two years ago. It's too easy to keep ignoring these things. Time to get to work.

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