This is a post from a while ago that contains an important framework that is always helpful to keep in mind. I’ve found it helpful in a new way recently, and thought you might as well.
David Allen very helpfully defines three different types of “work” that we do when doing our work:
- Doing predefined work
- Doing work as it shows up
- Defining your work
Many people get caught up in number 2, and let 1 and 3 slide.
He then notes:
Your ability to deal with surprise is your competitive edge. But at a certain point, if you’re not catching up and getting things under control, staying busy with only the work at hand will undermine your effectiveness. In order to know whether you should stop doing something and start dong something else, you need to have a good sense of what your job requires and how that fits into the other contexts of your life.