An issue which almost everyone finds personally relevant is why we seem to be getting busier and busier, and having less time. Last week BusinessWeek’s cover story addressed this issue squarely with the title The Real Reasons You’re Working So Hard… and what you can do about it.
Very interestingly, the angle they took was that business is increasingly based on collaborative networks, a theme dear to my heart. That we are connected to many people (which is why our email inboxes are so full) and must collaborate with others in our work (which requires meetings, building trust, and ongoing interaction) is both the source of the challenge, and at the heart of the potential solution. The answer is not in becoming disconnected, which is a dead-end path, but in plugging effectively into the networks so that we can play just the roles we choose and where we can create the most value. With the right strategy, it is indeed possible to transcend the downward spiral of busy-ness. In the article they referred to Rob Cross, author of The Hidden Power of Social Networks, and founder of the Network Roundtable, which I am research leader for on client connectivity. Many of the members of the Network Roundtable were also referenced on their work on collaborative networks in organizations. Yes, a world of pervasive information and knowledge networks is challenging, but if we understand how to deal with it effectively, we can create far more with far less… including the most precious commodity of all, time.