times up

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” —Robert Frost

“A train station is where a train stops.  A bus station is where a bus stops.  What’s a workstation?”  —William Faulkner (maybe)

Recently, I sat across from a client who said something like this to me:  “I don’t mean to be rude, but its 4:00 and I’ve been in meetings all day.  You are my 9th meeting of the day.  And, I have an operational job.  I have to process hundreds of items every day.  Its 4:00 and I haven’t even started my job.  And, you know what, I wasn’t even hired to work these operational issues.  I was hired to determine our strategy around customer service.  I was hired to design a new way of serving these customers.  I was hired to do something creative.  And now, I have no time for it.  I spend all my time in meetings and email.”

Ask yourself a simple question: when was the last time you had a full day of uninterrupted time to work on something at the office?  A half day?  How about two hours?  When was the last time you had a full hour of work in the office without interruption?

This is why Lisa and I designed Thought Ensemble explicitly to work from home.  Because of the nature of our work (strategic uses of technology) we find that we need time to think, time to explore topics and time to research.  If we had the traditional consulting setup of an office that you go to (when you’re not at the client), we’d fall into the same trap:  more meetings, more interruptions, more distraction.  Today’s modern office environment has become a way to ensure a lack of strategic thinking.  

Ask yourself another question:  where do you go when you need to get REAL work done?  I’ve been asking this for a while, and almost no one says “the office”.  Starbucks, yes.  Home, yes.  My car, yes.  The basement of the building, yes.  But, never the office.

This is one of the reasons that technology in many organizations is so far behind its potential.  To really think about a problem for long enough to come up with a creative, inspired solution requires consistent thinking time: something most office dwellers never get.  Most of the people who work in technology get very little time to do this between meetings, bug fixes and email.

Do you want more strategic thinking?  Do you want to do something creative and inspired?