I’ve been in the IT field for about 15 years now. I started with an aptitude for troubleshooting PCs and applications and enjoyed learning about new technologies. As my career progressed, I gained more and more responsibility and enjoying keeping up with new technologies less and less. About 7 years ago I started having more responsibility for projects as a technical project lead. This eventually led to my current career as a Project Manager. Over those formative years I started focusing more of my learning and development on soft skills. Things like writing and public speaking and time management.

One of my previous employers arranged for a 1 day FranklinCovey seminar in which I was introduced to the Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At the time, I was still emerging from my technology focused career into becoming more process focused. This resulted in my identifying more with the tools and checklists available in the FranklinCovey system than the underlying concepts.

Ove the last 4 years I have spent much more time learning about the concepts of the 7 Habits and other time management teachings. I have witnessed many of my peers and customers bogged down in using their energy in reactive mode as opposed to behaving proactively. They complain of being “too busy” to get their work done. Or, “I’m always behind the 8-ball.” Or, “How can I ever catch up?” Do you find yourself in a similar position? One common observation I have when witnessing these individual’s work habits is that they appear to have no plan on how they spend their limited time. Essentially, they bounce around from topic to topic, meeting to meeting, task to task, without any plan or guidance. They complain about their boss and colleagues giving them jobs when they are already overworked.

The challenge I see for these individuals is that they never really take time to understand what their workload really is and ask questions and make decisions as to what they should work on at any particular time. I don’t want to oversimplify this by not acknowledging unreasonable bosses or unrealistic job expectations. At the same time, there are some really basic steps a person can take to step back and gain some control over how they work.

Over the next few months I will blog on the 7 Habits. I know this area is well covered, but another voice can’t hurt and it will help reinforce the concepts for me and maybe some of my readers.