When a colleague asks me how things are going, my natural response is a variation on this: ‘Ah, you know – busy.’
There’s not enough time.
When I think up a new idea, for something I’d like to do on my own initiative, and pitch it to my boss, I often find myself adding as a sweetener: ‘It won’t take long’. There’s not enough time.
When I bump into an old colleague, and we agree that we simply must catch up, there’s only a 50% chance that we ever will. There’s not enough time.
I even find myself finishing kitchen conversations on the way back to my desk. There’s not enough time.
There’s not enough time for new ideas or for interactions with people instead of my computer.
So what is there enough time for?
The only thing left is the predictable, pre-ordained, regular work. That’s what I’m making time for.
But if time is so scarce that I don’t respond properly to a question about how things are going, or that I don’t pursue a new idea fully, catch up with an old colleague, or even finish a conversation properly, then surely it makes no sense to spend so much time on the predictable, pre-ordained, regular work.
Whatever is scarce is also valuable – and I believe that time is the most valuable resource anyone has nowadays.
Setting aside those opportunities for new ideas and new interactions in favour of ordinary work is, quite literally, a waste of time.