If anyone were to ask me right now I’d have to say I’m feeling pretty good. Stress minimal; life overall feels quite leisurely; I haven’t snarled at anyone for nearly a week; and the dog has stopped diving for cover when I enter the room*.
I’m on vacation.
Well, I have put in a few hours of real work – as distinct from house and garden work. We spent a few days out of town but I took my notebook along to download pictures from my camera and… well, to check my e-mails. After all, leaving them for a whole week makes e-mail catch-up such a challenge – and just when you’re trying to get back up to speed on what’s going on in your patch.
Almost all the CIOs I’ve spoken with lately are under pressure and working too many hours. In fact for the last several years, as economic pressures have obliged everyone to reduce costs and be more productive, there has been a universal trend, it seems, toward longer working hours. I’m sure CIOs are not unique in this, but we can all identify a number of additional treats that have come along to keep the CIO’s life interesting. Regulation, liability and risk come immediately to mind; all of them adding to the portfolio.
In last year’s Insider Survey one of the most commonly identified obstacles to CIOs’ effectiveness was, ‘Not enough time for thinking and planning.’ And it looks like this year’s survey, now in field, is shaping up the same way.
When work gets so hectic that one has no time to plan, things are likely to get out of control. That’s when projects go awry, tasks fall through the cracks and mistakes happen. Then your stress level goes up and you put in extra hours to fix mistakes and… it’s a vicious cycle.
The only way out is to delegate, step back and organize, and take time for yourself. Of course, you already knew that. So did I, but had to be reminded before I actually did it.
So take a break.
*In fact, no dogs were ever harmed or endangered during or prior to the production of this editorial.