I feel very lucky... Every morning, I get to spend about an hour in traffic, sometimes more. I have been doing this drive or one like it, on and off, for almost three years now. At first it was very trying - my back ached, I tired of music, I cursed the blinding sun that streamed through my windshield, I couldn't listen to one more audio book (except, of course, Atlas Shrugged) and I just wanted to have a car like Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang and fly over all the other cars and deliver me at work's door.
Then I learned to slow down - to stop moving so fast. I learned to take it all in and use the time to either strategize or make calls or construct mental lists. One thought that consistently is in my mind is, "All these drivers have a life as important as mine. Where they all going? How can we all be going the same direction?" Oh..., and I should really pay attention because there are a lot of cars on this freeway. I have kids that need me."
During the course of your day, are you taking the time to slow down and regard your work? Or do you flit from one report or call to another, without considering the whole picture and the time suck that absent-minded work can become. Becoming mentally engaged is not always at the fore front of everyone's mind. Many times, we arrive at our desk and absently pour over emails or reports without first connecting with a particular vision or purpose.
In my very first job as a recruiter, I worried incessantly that I would not appear or sound "engaged" or in the know. I was new to the industry and vehemently denied the sales side of me. I spent a half hour every morning just re-attaching myself to my work, to a particular recruitment - its requirements and various details. It was important to me to have that time to strategize, make mental and written notes, and then customize my presentation. I reviewed the previous day's work and the follow-up required. I often felt unprepared because I had not been raised in business as recruiter or sales person - but I had been raised as a service provider, so the transition really was not too difficult. As a matter of fact, in the end, it served me well.
The daily snapping-it -all-back-together is a requirement for me. I must look at the pieces before I try and make the puzzle work. Then I also must envision what the final picture will look like. Strategy. It is not a dirty or lazy word. I think it is one of the most beautiful words there is, but it is not an easy word. It requires thought, time, and patience. But in the long run, strategy saves those three key resources.