Busy Doesn’t Mean Delivering: How a Priority Life Delivers

The other day, our Founder and President, Chris Saah, was reading the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.  He read this gem of a quote:
“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple ‘first’ things.”
It sparked us to re-evaluate and engage in an even deeper process of focus and productivity. Here is the funnel we took and the outcome:
At TecFac, we are continually seeking to realign our lives (working-lives, home-lives, etc.) around a premise that is not readily accessible in our Western world. Currently, we live in a world, as McKeown puts it, that tries to “bend reality.” The world is continually challenging the principles of the universe and our very selves to produce more. We are even able to stay up all night working – with the help of electricity and Red Bull.  In some ways, it is an exhilarating challenge to bend reality and do more than is actually possible. Sometimes we succeed, but if that happens, who or what suffers? Most likely it is those who we love most and who love us most, and more often than not, our bodies and minds also take a hit. Our quality-of-life becomes a mad scramble of quantity-of-life.
Instead of asking ourselves,
“How can I accomplish my to-do list?” or
“How can I not be in a rush?”,
we ask, “How much can I jam into my life, schedule and my to-do list?”
Asking the latter doesn’t equate to accomplishing more, but rather, equates to being busy. “Having a great deal to do” and “staying occupied” says the dictionary, but busy doesn’t mean delivering (nor does it mean a balanced and peaceful life). More than ever, we know that our clients want us to deliver, not schedule many arduous and repetitive meetings. And what we want for ourselves is time to travel, to think, to be with our families and to collaborate. Making and executing a process to accomplish deliverables excellently is our aim. And in turn, we believe that this leads toward the work-life balance that we desire.
In our company and in ourselves, we are seeking to change the normative life the world presents to us. We have started the process with accomplishing one thing a day. It’s harsh and underwhelming in light of the system we are up against, but we are finding it produces favorable and fruitful results. We have been starting every morning in our all-company ‘huddle’ meeting by each team member listing off the good things each of us are bringing to the table today.  Sometimes this includes Maryland making it to the Sweet 16, and other times, it’s hot leads, signed proposals or successful outcomes on family member’s surgeries.  Whatever it is, we relish first in a collective thankfulness for the good things going on in our midst. We then identify, more for ourselves than each other, the one priority we have that day – what we have decided to be the focus of the day. We have stopped trying to fool ourselves into thinking we can have multiple priorities. When we are finished with the 1st thing, the 2nd thing can be accomplished. The only thing I said on our huddle meeting today was to finish this blog. It’s my priority. Do I have other things I need to accomplish? Yes. Will I? Most likely. But I do know that by the end of this day, writing this blog is the one thing I sought to accomplish and made it my priority. The exchange for making it my priority is that it will be finished today. This morning, even. The alternative would have been it becoming one of the many items that I didn’t get to today.
Working within an effective manner and process is one battle we are seeking to reign over. We want to be effective and excellent. We can have all the brains, energy, drive, experience, synergy and collaboration – and we surely do!  But without a plan and the priority as the focus, all the resources can and will come to nothing. Or if not nothing, short of an excellent work product.
Let’s all accomplish what we have set out to do for today.  I just finished my priority.

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