Thursday, July 19, 2012

Always-On: Trivial Urgency

I think the problem is in expectations of responsiveness. People focus on the trivial "urgent" instead of the important, as Covey said.

One of the issues I have with the complaints of "always on" is looking at my father. He was always on for his whole life and had no downside. He loved what he did. He thought about it when he was taking a shower, or walking to work or having friends over for dinner or raking leaves in the yard. It never was a matter of being burdened by work. He was a professor and consultant. I think it is a mistake to see the problem as always being on. Expectations of responsiveness to thee trivial urgent though I can see as a problem.

I think there is a difference between being also on and energized by your work (that is pretty much how I am, and my father was - I am working for myself, I can work whenever I want) and feeling burdened by being expected to be always on.

The problem is I keep reading about how thinking about work all the time is horrible for people. Well in my experience that isn't true (granted it is a small set of people). But it points to, I think, an issue that the "problem" is imprecisely defined and therefore inaccurate. I do think there is an issue expecting people to be available for trivially urgent matters.

Related: Carve Out Time to Think - Circle of Influence

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