Saying “No” to Distractions … GIT-R-DONE!

Larry The Cable Guy, picture from Wikipedia

This is a little bit of a departure from my usual blog topics, but it is relevant to some of my current struggles in the workplace, and within myself at times.

Almost everyone knows Larry The Cable Guy.  Even if you have not watched his stand-up comedy, you’ve probably heard his famous phrase “Git-R-Done!”  I haven’t watched much of his routines, but Git-R-Done resonates with me.  It’s a call to action.

You’ve got work to do?  Great… go do it.  GIT-R-DONE!

Recently I’ve been very frustrated at work.  Some days I would spend 8 hours doing nothing but answering emails, instant messages, and attending conference calls.  At the end of the day, I felt like I helped other people get their work done, but my work was left un-done.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think there is value in helping others get their to-do list things done, and accomplish things.  Invariably I need help to get some of my tasks done too.  There’s always a wonderful benefit that comes from feeling like I’m being helpful to others.

The problem is that lately doing that has come at the expense of me getting my work done.  Also, in many cases, I know that if I did not provide the help I was asked to give, others would eventually find the answers themselves.  … and when people find answers themselves, they learn.  Am I stealing learning opportunities from others?

Last night I watched the video at the end of this post by Jason Fried.  Ironically, I was working at home at the kitchen table doing work that I could not get done during the day because of too many distractions, the very heart of Jason’s TED talk.  I took a break to watch this video, and it changed my day.

I came into the office today with a very fresh attitude of Git-R-Done.  Just because someone sends me an instant message, doesn’t mean I need to respond to it that instant; especially if I am in the middle of composing a thought.  It is truly amazing how much more productive I feel, and probably am, when I complete my thought or activity, reach a logical stopping place, and only then respond to the latest issue or question in my midst.

Do you feel incredibly busy, but not productive?  Maybe it’s time to re-prioritize what really deserves your attention, and saying no to some distractions.  I highly recommend watching Jason’s video, and implementing the strategies that make sense to you.

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