Busy-ness seems to be a fact of life for many people these days. Whether it is running between commitments, as a business person, as a parent or anything in between, downtime has become a precious commodity—one to be treasured and nurtured. Modern conveniences like unlimited wifi (including on some flights nowadays) mean we are never far away from activity and doing things that, in our own mind at least, add to our personal sense of worth.
While busy-ness can be a good thing, more often than not sustained periods of busy-ness will lead to reduced effectiveness and possibly even burnout or breakdown. We get so wound up doing stuff that our world closes in around us, until we lose sight of 'why'—our True North. Loosing perspective is not good for us, or those around us.
As a senior executive or company director with significant responsibilities, you no doubt have a busy schedule. How do you keep things in perspective to ensure that you are actually effective in your work? Do you have an anchor, a True North, and do you referencing back to it?
For me, downtime is the key to effectiveness—slowing the heart rate; getting away from people; taking time out to explore ideas (that would not normally even register on my everyday radar); and, in so doing, remind myself of what really matters, my True North. I do that by reading. Here's a selection of the books currently on my reading list. If you read as a means of maintaining your perspective, I commend them to you.
PS: What you do to keep track of your True North doesn't really matter. Go for a walk, paint, read, sew, draw or whatever else takes your fancy. That you are taking time out from the busy-ness of life is what will make the difference to your effectiveness—as paradoxical as that may seem.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.