Preoccupied-with-Future or Fully-Involved-in-Present ?
My day as an anchor for SAP Application Maintenance and Support for a reputed Global Customer is a heady mix of business discussions, metrics meetings, follow-ups and more such activities. Being a functional Consultant for over 5 years, I have a vision or rather a simple plan to build on my learnings’ in new-age SAP offerings enriching my knowledge and in-turn pushing my shelf life in a dynamic, Darwinian world of ERP Consulting. Further, in our objective to go beyond ticket/change driven support, I have set myself to define and pursue a set of initiatives clearly benefiting the Client in Real-Dollar terms. Add to this, as Single Point of Contact based at customer location, I am expected to offer adequate guidance and timely support to Sales team in identifying emerging business needs having the potential to become large-scale enterprise/IT opportunities.I am sure most of us in consulting or IT community at-large are leading similar, hectic lives with host of responsibilities and time-critical commitments. With that being said, let me dwell a bit more into my workday.
On personal front, I am staying with my family of three constituting myself, my wife and our 4-year old bundle-of-joy, our son. Since he started going to Pre-K program from last week, we have become restless as he is not very happy or fully ready to part from his favorite home environment (We cannot over-emphasize the contribution of tablets, playbooks and all such hand-held digital devices here). By any means, I believe, spending 8 hours a day at school is no small effort for kids. You heard it right! Public schools in our part of world run 5 days a week with children having to spend almost entire day away from home. (Excluding weekends and holidays) I don’t want to debate on this set-up though as it in fact suits and may have been designed keeping the needs of the families with both parents working full-time.
Coming back to the topic, our anxiety levels peak during noon times when our son, who is not used to having day-time naps, may become cranky resulting in school authorities calling us to handle the situation. All these issues, activities, expectations, goals and many more keep me preoccupied with thoughts on one or other making me inattentive, exhausted and irritated at times.
It starts like, the moment I get up in the morning, I have this urge to check the smart phone for any important messages, priority notifications and meeting requests. Before I could finish that, I involuntarily switch over to laptop for my daily grind of emails. Even before I smell my morning cup of coffee, my hand goes to pick the phone again to take an update from my offshore team on few open, high-priority requirements. I couldn’t realize how my quiet coffee time with wife has become something so mechanical and business-like. Further, I end up taking those calls into my 20-minute morning jog as well with myself not getting the satisfaction of even completing one good round of healthy, brisk walk.
Beyond obvious benefits, don’t you agree that Outsourcing and Time zone Differences have induced their own set of complexities and unique, not-so-welcome patterns into our way-of-working? Coming back to my work day, all follow-on chores such as taking a quick shower, doing prayer or having break-fast take place in a background of seamless flow of random thoughts on things to accomplish in the day ahead. Needless to say, I have no memories of a refreshing hot shower or a mindful prayer. Worse, most of the times, I can’t even recollect what I had for breakfast.
Amidst all this, my mind still continues running a complex algorithm contemplating on the next set of actions I need to perform in the day ahead to fulfill my goals. At the end of my busy workday, though I accomplish or rather tick the check-boxes against majority of my action items (yes, I believe in To-Do Lists !!!), I don’t remember or not sure of how effective I was in most of them.
Though it may sound ironical, I value Quality in my output over anything else. If I look back at what was disturbing or affecting me the most, all I could see was my state of being preoccupied with future and all those expectations built around it. Repeated attempts of introspection have revealed how I almost forgot to live in present and be mindful of the job-at-hand.
To sum it up, our roles and responsibilities on personal and professional fronts do throw different sets of activities (each vital in its own aspect) we need to accomplish at varied points of time. Though I am not understating the importance of prioritization, multi-tasking etc. such virtues, all I could emphasize is we should not get lost in thinking much-beyond our current pursuit. In this context, old adage of doing-one-thing-at-a-time still holds its relevance with best results assured when we solely focus on the thing-at-hand rather than worrying on all others to follow. So, to me, it is time to make a switch from being preoccupied-with-future to fully-involved-in-present. How about you?