Procrastination exacts a heavy price. And there is one area of life in which delay is particularly costly.
Stephen Covey writes of “quadrant two” activities in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Quadrant two is the area devoted to those important things in life that we never really seem to get around to doing. They are important, but they are not urgent.
Planning and goal setting are good examples of quadrant two activities. What could be more important than defining a vision of success and knowing where you’re going in life? But most of us do not take the time to plan our career and write down goals.
“Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist–someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.” -Peter M. Senge, “The Fifth Discipline” (p. 146)
A number of years ago I noticed a distressing pattern in my life. Despite my best efforts to “make things happen” in business settings, relationships, and other areas, I was continually disappointed. Nothing seemed to work out as I had hoped.
My theme words for this season of life are simplify and focus. I even jotted these words on a note and hung it on my wall next to my computer at work. Every day in every way, I think: simplify and focus.
As Richard Koch demonstrates in his book about the 80/20 principle, complex is ugly, but simple is beautiful. Additionally, the Heath brothers show the value of simplicity in Made to Stick, which I’m re-listening to on drives to work.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Now is the time for you to take ownership of your career.
Elaine Pofeldt wrote an excellent piece on Forbes on this theme. She says: “Skip the long list of resolutions this year. If you really want to take charge of your career in 2014, you only need to make one: Stop delegating control of your career to others.”
I am putting together a “reading list” for the year. Having a blog about career development, coupled with a desire to advance in my profession, gives me motivation to read voraciously. I can learn from a broad array of authors and genres. I can write reviews. I can apply the insights I gain. I can follow up with additional blog posts about my successes and lessons learned.
My reading list includes books about the 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. A corollary principle is that 80% of our efforts are rather wasteful since they only produce 20% of our results.