What really matters: If your time is constrained, what should you do?

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vacation
hikephoto
I missed several hours “work” to participate in a hike with people I had never met before (I’m behind the camera, so am not in the picture)

A vacation, especially at a health resort, provides a perfect opportunity to reset priorities and focus on what really matters. However, in the interconnected Internet era, we don’t need to leave our home world even if we are half-way around the globe.

This vacation, closer to home, occurs at a critical time in the production schedule for our publications I could have elected to delegate/manage things so that all of my tasks could be put aside, but that seemed unnecessarily demanding — so I set priorities and back-up plans to allow the vacation priorities to proceed unimpeded, with essential work done on a reduced schedule.

That leads to the next question: What should the be my priorities?  As you can see, the blog has become one of them. (In previous vacations, when I wanted a real escape, I would write and “store” several days — even weeks — of posts for publication as required.) There were some core production and editorial tasks, weekly eletters, and scheduling tasks to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I also without micromanaging, of course, kept track of the overall business finances, cash flow and operations.

Much work has been deferred. This is one week where the rule is: “If it can wait a week, it will.” “If someone else can reasonably do the work in my absence, they will do it.” And so, despite the time spent at tasks that might not seem vacation-like, it is really a vacation for me.

This leads to the more important question. What should be your priorities and why? I cannot answer this one with absolute confidence, because you will have your own definition of essential work and priority activities, but speculate you will draw a list something like this:

  • Critical, emergency issues: A fire, serious health and safety crisis, key employee misconduct (“call the police” issues) — the sort where you would expect a call even if you have given strict “do not bother me” instructions
  • Important, time-sensitive tasks where you either cannot delegate easily, or where you have a vital role to play
  • Activities  you truly enjoy that you cannot easily defer

If marketing and business development are nowhere on these categories, then the question arises: Do you have someone (or a team) in your organization who can handle these tasks with your absolute confidence?

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