It’s Time to Make the Important URGENT

Over and over again I’ve heard from companies,“Boy, we don’t do enough of this big picture thinking.” or... “I just never seem to find time to do this otherwise.” or, the most common... “This kind of thinking is IMPORTANT, but never URGENT.” It sounds obvious that this is clearly ridiculous. But who amongst us hasn’t been lured into the ‘to-do list trap’...or the trap of reactively putting out fires...or the trap of multitasking our thinking to such a level that we’re skimming across the surface on everything. Sound familiar? In fact, these traps are at such epidemic proportions that a Harvard Business Review blog by Tony Schwartz called “The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time” has received quite a bit of attention since first being published. You can read the article for yourself, but here are two suggestions I think are most relevant to innovation leaders (whose time and attention is constantly in demand): 1. Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you'll be. When you're done, take at least a few minutes to renew. 2. Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don't, you'll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. Also, find a different environment in which to do this activity — preferably one that's relaxed and conducive to open-ended thinking. To me, it says that Innovation Leaders must set the example. They must ...

Make the Important thing (INNOVATION), Urgent. Make time think deeply about it.

Give ourselves the time to indulge.  Turn off the phone.  Turn off the email.  Close the door and DO one thing for innovation.  (Example: If you need ideas how’s about Future, Market, Technology or Insight Mining.)