“Keep your eye on the ball” has been repeated numerous times as I sit here at my nine-year old’s baseball game. This phrase is applicable in every walk of life. Babies learning to grab objects need to concentrate on the object they are trying to lift. Musicians need to watch their director to make a joyful noise. Teenagers need to pay attention while learning to drive. Employees need to stay focused on their core job functions.
We all have distractions in and outside of work. Very few of us can “check our baggage” at the door. I may be excited about all the ideas swirling about in my head, but I need to remember my primary loyalty is to my employer. I will give my best at work. The job I started last fall is what opened my eyes to my passion. I love high level financial analysis. I love forecasting our financial position find different assumptions. I love creating business plan for capital projects. Why wouldn’t I give 110%? I want to show my co-workers, my boss, and my stakeholders I can do this and I can do it well!
Keeping my eye on the ball requires different tools. I use lists, calendars and meeting reminders, I use email and tasks. There have been times I sit at my desk feeling overwhelmed not knowing what to do first [my anxiety has at times taken over]. This week I have had four deadlines in three days. I am not talking small deadlines either, master budget due tomorrow, capital project business plan and budget due today, mid-month forecast due tomorrow (temperature of how our business is doing before closing the month), and a 15 month rolling financial forecast is also due tomorrow. People are waiting for this information coming from me. Luckily, between using my “tools” to stay organized and waiting for others to provide information to me I am able to gracefully move between projects.
Muti-tasking is a over-used buzz word. If you have all the information you need to finish a project then finish it! If you can’t provide enough of your attention, your “expertise” to the project then it will not be the best product you can put out. Management classes in college talked about stakeholders. We had to draw diagrams and write why each group was a stake holder and what information they gleaned from our report. For me, I am putting out reports used by my CFO, CEO, COO and could possibly be used in reports to our Board of Directors. If my attention is elsewhere the quality of my work suffers which hurts the whole businesses. If your attention is elsewhere or divided, who [stakeholders] are you hurting? Keep your eye on the ball, and I will too.