Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Productive Break from the Office

I have just returned from a workshop that was organized by my company. "Planning, Organizing and Managing Time and Resources" is what the workshop was named. The title is self-explanatory and if you ask me, the workshop was about things that I already knew. However, as a human being, we tend to ignore certain aspects of our lives, which require immediate attention but are ignored out of our sheer ignorance or, simply, out of laziness. For me, this workshop was a great help since it made me recapitulating things that I had forgotten.

Well, I am not really going to write about what we talked about in this 2-day training session (unless you guys want me to). Most of us are aware of the 80/20 principle and the Time quadrant matrix, two tools that are excessively used across the world to analyze our lives (personal and professional, both) and bring about a change. Both these tools primarily talk about increasing our productivity, which is what our main goal is.

However, I will not get into the concepts (which simply means that I will leave out the boring details). I'd rather talk about things that were interesting and truly made me think. In simpler words, this post is not dedicated to the session entirely but contains issues, problems or solutions that are a clear reflection of what my own introspection has yielded over the years.

To be honest, this workshop made me admit that I do not have a long term goal in life. I mean, a real goal. And very frankly, I don't think any of my close friends have one too. A real goal. Something that you really, with all your heart, want to achieve. I have come to realize that the most common mistake that people do (including me) is that we do not align ourselves to the goals of the organization we are working for. I mean, there has to be a link. If you look at it from a different angle, imagine yourself in your manager's position and question yourself whether you really want to be in that position. I know a lot of people would have a positive answer to it,just  like me, but is it possibly the right track to achieve that goal. Simply put, our personal goals should be in sync with the organizational goals. Sometimes, our own goals are nothing but a derivative of the organizational goals, which is fine, I think.

To understand the link between your personal goals and the goals that are expected of you, it is important that the goals be clearly defined, and documented, if necessary. It is very important to know what you want from yourself and what the company exactly and precisely wants from you (and if the expectations are exactly articulated in the manner you would want to deliver).

Once the goal has been decided, a set of actions must follow.

One of the biggest challenges that most of us face is to strike a balance between our personal and professional lives. Really, it is very difficult to do that. It requires a lot of time management skills.

But as a word of caution, if you overdo with the time management thingie, your goals might somewhere be lost in the maze. To support this theory (or concept), I have a story to share. Well, I was told that this story is hypothetical but I think I could relate to it in a number of ways. "There was one a couple - a husband and wife, leading their normal routine life. The husband was very organized and did everything on time. He was never late for his appointments. And he followed the same in his personal life. Like a good husband, he would always come back home on time. The wife was simply the opposite. She took her own sweet time in whatever she did. And this made the husband unhappy. Once, the husband and wife decided to go for a movie. Being calculative and keeping a buffer travelling time, the husband was ready and out waiting in the car. The wife, on the contrary, took her own time choosing her dress with concern, did a little bit of make up, wore a nice pair of shoes to go with the outfit and eventually came down by the car a bit later than expected. This made the husband very angry and he scolded her for being disorganized and not punctual at all. What happened. They fought and the evening out ended in a disaster."

See, here the point of going for a movie, essentially, is that the couple must spend a few happy moments together to make their weeded life a success. The goal is not to watch the movie (most of the times) but to enjoy the time that they get to spend together. Their married life would have to face the repercussions, if they end up fighting after the movie. The ultimate goal is not achieved. They might as well have stayed back and not gone for the movie in the first place. 

What was required here was that both of them understand each other's needs and adapt themselves to each others preferences. The husband should understand the wife's weakness but he should also not force his behaviour on her. On the other hand, the wife must at least live up to the expectations by keeping a buffer time herself, if she knows that she would take extra time to get ready. She must understand what it means to keep somebody waiting. They both must work and re-design their goals and take the necessary actions towards it.

So basically, these goals are not only useful in our professional lives, but also play an important role in our personal lives. A few years back, somebody in my family taught me a golden rule - "Every change that you make in your life must be measurable

Therefore, every step that we take towards achieving our goal must be calculated. Of course, there a few distractions and external factors which are not in our control. But leaving these unpredictable circumstances, every step you take would be a step closer to the goal. 

Disclaimer: At the end of the post I realized that majority of the things written out here are not from the trainer's mouth. Every word here is my own and you are free to agree or disagree to it. I still have a lot more to say but I didn't want to make the post too long. I could write about it some other time, maybe. 


SEPO said...

awesome post!!

my life these days sucks big time, this has given me a lot of positivity and hope!!

Sakshi said...

But you are sounding like a trainer :) ever thought of this Goal?

On a much more serious note- I agree with you that, we need maintain a certain balance in our lives. We cannot end up being extremists here.

Right now, I am working in a law firm, which is a midsize law firm. This is thanks to the merger that my previous boss had with this firm. Now, my previous boss- is a VERY hard working woman. A self made name in the field of women litigators. You know what her tragedy is, or rather what I feel her tragedy is? She is married to a german, and he stays there, she stays here. They meet when she goes there for the 2 month vacation in summers and he keeps visiting her during her shorter vacations.
But tell me is that a life? When you have someone to share your life with, why are still sharing bits and pieces of it?
I know two more people with zero social life.

I agree that you have to pursue your goal. But is that goal more important than the life that you have?

You are right, when you say that there has to be a balance. That there is more to life than JUST your career or JUST your family!

Great read!
*And this post prompted another post from me!*

Chandrika Shubham said...

I agree with you. To definite one's goal is the most important as well as difficult thing.

Interesting read! :)

astrosunilnomy said...

nice read, got to learn many things ! what do you mean by "Every change that you make in your life must be measurable" . Could you elaborate more on this ? Do you mean 5% of objectives achieved towards bigger last measure it as 100% ?