Today was my first full day at work since last Tuesday. There was much to be done. I was very glad when my one meeting was canceled because it meant I had the whole day to get things done and make a serious dent in the 80+ emails awaiting me. I was able to reduce that number by half by the time I left, even taking into account the additional ones that came in during the day. It was the best “churn it out” kind of day I’ve had in a while.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is very easy for others to misunderstand my mindset when I get in this kind of mode.
Case in point: I recall a few years ago on a different team when my to-do list was so long and time was so short that I spent many days as focused and serious as I get in order to accomplish what needed to be done. I wasn’t my usual laid-back self, casual, joking or behaving in ways that was considered normal by others on that team. Nothing was wrong. I wasn’t mad at anyone. I was just focused and quite content in getting things done.
Eventually, I was approached by more than one person on that team concerned about how my change in behavior was seen by and affecting my teammates. What that experience taught me is that I must (to some extent) continue to be the person others expect me to be, especially in the sense of giving them time and not tuning them out for extended periods while getting other things done.
It’s OK to be “busy Jeff” but not at the expense of “relational Jeff.”
That experience came to mind as I left work today. After being focused and accomplishing much, I left a little faster than normal because I had yet more to do at home the rest of the evening. I exited wondering “Did my teammates notice anything different or misunderstand me?” I hope they didn’t. I’ll find out.
If they did, it’s time for me to remember again leap year lesson #330 – Don’t be so busy that you ignore people around you.