Housewives of Atlanta and your Career

I had a friend tell me the other day, “You know I am addicted to Housewives of Atlanta.” I could not comment because I have never seen the program. I also noticed over the past week all the comments about Will Smith’s daughter and the hair thing. Again, could not comment because I have never seen it. Neither of these were in my orbit of interest.

This all came to focus as I worked with these 2 clients over the past months that were in a dilemma over their careers. One wanted to change their career and the other did not know what to do about hers. One was gainfully employed albeit hating it every day, while the other was a victim of the recession. Both were looking for new careers.

I had breakfast this morning with a colleague who is looking to move from retail to corporate. His frustration is that he gets up every day and sits at the computer for 12 hours plus, sending resume, talking with other disgruntled friends about the state of the job market. At the end of the day he said he is absolutely exhausted. My question was if you feel that way, why do you do it each day.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.-Albert Einstein

I myself am not immune to being disconnected. This past week I took a serious look at my daily activity. I would methodically spend the better part of every morning reviewing daily newspapers across the country. I would then cut and paste the article of interest into a word document, creating my own newspaper for the commute home. My commute is approximately 1 hour each way, which I would spend reading “my newspaper”. By the time I reached my car I knew everything that was important to me, business, politics, art etc.

Meanwhile on the other hand, I had so much professional reading to catch up own. The books were stacking up; the research reports were already printed, stapled and waiting for my hands to bring them to life by underlining; and, writing in the margins and just getting excited about some new model of talent management.

I realized the other day that there was a disconnect with friends as well as my clients and me. It is called distractions.

So many times in our busy lives we have created goals for ourselves and in the haste of reaching our goals, life happens and we become distracted. Distractions take all forms, whether it is the latest reality TV show, following the celebs, or news programs. We can’t wait to get online to follow whatever. We spend hours each day that are basically unproductive. We also spend hours complaining about either our status or how we do not have enough time to catch up.

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved”-Charles Kettering

As this became prevalent to me I decided to take a closer look at my day to see what was productive and what was not. My problem was that I was spending too much time reading and creating my newspaper. I calculated 2 hours of commute time and at least an hour putting this document together. Three hours per day or 15 hours per week reading news.

Yours could be House Wives of Whatever, Americas Idol, and celebrity gossip. Are your distractions taking up a large chunk of you time. Is your time spent inching you towards your sweet spot. I know that we all need time to “get away”. My issue is to make sure that it is not dominating our lives. Is the amount of time spent compatible to the benefits that are derived from it?

As we develop our career plans and our goals, we have to review our steps to see whether we are on track. It is so easy today to get distracted with all the options that we have available to us. But we must never lose site on our goal and the steps it will take to get there.

So next time you watch your HW of Atlanta or other reality show for an hour, could that time have been more productive for you. I have transformed my 15 hours and my reading pile is basically done.

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