Pay Attention!

My professional strength is finding new, better ways of doing things.  I put a lot of effort into looking at how things are done, comparing that to how I wish it was done and finding a way to bridge that gap.  Some say, it is my passion.

But it takes a lot of effort to stay focused long enough to get it done these days.

Let me share an example of how sometimes struggle:

Monday morning, I came into the office with a well prepared list of things I needed to get done.  My list included talking to various staff members about projects they were working on, accomplishing some nagging tasks that were overdue and reevaluating our optical strategy to explore how it fits into this changing world of managed care.  

 As usual, before I start the day, I stop to give my email a quick check.  Nothing major in the email, but I do need to go ahead and reply to a few, so I do.  Some require that I look at my calendar, so I do that and I realize that the Spring is really filling up quickly.  

 For a minute, I gaze at my calendar wondering how am I going to do all that I am supposed to do this Spring without putting a strain on my family or my practice.  We will all band together and we will get it done.

 Back to the emails. A quick look under the "Promotions" tab, those usually all get deleted in mass, so this will literally take two seconds.  

 Jessica drops in at this moment and asks if this is a good time to review the frame count.  I say, "Yes, I am almost finished here."  Jessica leaves to gather up some people to talk about one of the things on my to do list. 

 One of the Promotions email was about 360 Business Tours for Google Maps.  I have seen these before and must say they are pretty cool.  From the Street View, some businesses allow you to go inside virtually.  Hotels have been using this technology for years.  Then real estate companies and lately, I have been noticing some restaurants with them.  My memory does seem to recall seeing an optical shop with this technology, but is that a real memory?

 Let me explore for just a minute - so Google and I do a little research.  I want to know which Atlanta area businesses have these 360 tours.  

So I punched something into Google about Atlanta area 360 tours.  This brings up a sketch from SNL about the Southern gentleman who lashes out about how Georgians were crippled by the recent 2 inches of snow.  While I must admit it was funny, I began to wonder, does everybody think all Southerners are Colonel Sanders from KFC?

 After a good laugh, I was reminded that I heard snow is forecasted again for this weekend.  Is that true?  So a quick check of local weather revealed that we will be fine this weekend, highs in the 50's.  

But there are so many things to look at on this weather website.  I checked out a video about a man that was at sea for 18 months and there is an advertisement about Rocky on Broadway.  

 Now, we are going to New York to see that on Valentine's Day, very cool!  Should I watch that trailer again?  

 Now I have three patients waiting. I guess we can talk about the frame count later.....

Routinely, I catch myself doing things that I don't need to be doing and this is one of those times.  I am using emails as a Procrastination Tool.  I tell myself that I need to check in to make sure I am not missing out on anything.  When in reality, rather than doing what I need to do, I am trying to see what everyone else wants me to be doing.  I am not paying attention to what matters most.

Time for this to stop.

Starting now, I will check my email for the first time at lunchtime.  If you need me before lunch, you should call.

In the BluePrint, we help our members differentiate between what is important and what is urgent.  It is a classic lesson from Stephen Covey's original Seven Habits book.  It is a tough concept to comprehend, and it is easy to forget.  My habit of keeping my nose in emails is the excuse I have been using to find "urgencies" to distract me from "important" tasks.

I have renewed my habit of planning my day, working on my tasks, then at lunch, I will see what everybody else wants.

Wish me luck,

Mike Rothschild

p.s.  Yes, I do understand the irony of sending this message via email.