Even in a hectic world, you have to stay informed

When we’re pressed for time, we tend to fight fires and forget about trying to prevent the next one

OK, so you’re working 60 hours a week and getting paid for 40. By the time you get home, assuming you’re not bringing work with you, you just want to vegetate. A nice cold beer or glass of wine, a TV dinner and a sitcom or ballgame on the tube may be all you can handle. Of course, if you have kids, the vegetating may come later, much later.

Whether you nod off in front of the tube or somewhere else, at some point you have to go to bed. Then all of a sudden, it’s morning again and another day of the grind.

A friend calls it “working in the ever-speeding-up-hamster cage.” He’s German, and has recently returned home, indicating things are probably not much better over there.

Regardless of what we call it, it’s not a great way to live, and it’s probably not what many of us thought the future held. Many of our employers are cutting corners. After a layoff, the workers who stay have to pick up the work the laid-off folks used to do.

Like our employers, we cut corners too. Many of our enjoyable activities have all but disappeared. One guy was telling me he stopped his newspaper delivery, as he didn’t have time to read it anyway. The trade journals and other magazines go largely unread as well. “Who has the time?”

Additionally, it becomes increasingly difficult to make good decisions when we don’t know what’s going on around us. And we have to keep developing ourselves as the rest of the world has no intention of stopping just because we have.When we’re pressed for time, we tend to fight fires and forget about trying to prevent the next one. That’s OK in the short term, but while we’re just fighting fires, we’re losing the battles.

And we just might find the ideas we need to shrink our jobs back to a more reasonable size

I read four newspapers a day, two liberal and two conservative. It’s too bad we can’t often get both sides from the same publication, but I find the additional effort gives me a much better picture of what I’d like to know.So how do we fit it all in? Here’s where technology can help. Get yourself an iPad or one of the other tablets. Although they’re not great tools for producing information, they are unsurpassed at helping us consume it in a very easy and organized way.

Believe it or not, this takes only about 15 minutes on most days, maybe a half-hour on a really newsy day. I scan the headlines and read only the stories I want. I don’t need all the gory details of the murders unless I’m on the jury. The news itself is depressing enough.

Keep informed

For the articles I do read, most of the important information is contained at the top, sparing us the trouble of reading the whole thing unless it keeps our interest. Many online editions contain the first paragraph along with the headline on the front page, making it easy to decide what to read.

Business magazines, trade journals and other important inputs to our self-development often have online editions as well. Very few, if any, industries and sectors are standing still. We have to find a way to keep developing, to keep ourselves up to date. We may actually find an idea or two that will make our jobs easier. You might find this information far more helpful to you than the mindless commercials that inundate us. When I’m reading this way, I often find what I’m reading to be so interesting, I keep reading after the program has resumed.

Like it or not, it’s our jobs to keep ourselves up to date. We ignore it at our peril. And we just might find the ideas we need to shrink our jobs back to a more reasonable size.

It’s impossible to make good business and/or career decisions unless we understand what’s really going on.

“Work smarter not harder” is a popular mantra. That’s hard to do if we’re not learning better ways to do what we have to do.

Ronald J. Bourque, a consultant and speaker from Windham, has had engagements throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He can be reached at 603-898-1871 or RonBourque3@gmail.com.

Categories: Business Advice