Building the Future One Day per Month

SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Office 365 are as much about you and you’re team as they are about the features and functionality. So I plan to share some thoughts on teams, leadership, solutions, and life.

Better work from you and your team will lead to better implementations and possibilities for your organization. We can all find 1 day a month, just 5% of our work time, to build something that will pay long term dividends in the future.

Do you ever find yourself caught up in the day to day tasks that urgently need to get done? How often do you get to take a breather? Once in a while are you fortunate enough to go out and eat with coworkers instead of working while you eat at your desk? Or every day are you scarfing down your microwaved frozen dinner and mountain dew while you hurry to answer the next urgent email with the subject line ACTION NEEDED: assistance to save us from the reactor meltdown on our intergalactic starship!

It happens to me. I get caught up basking in the admiration of my minions, attending hours of meetings, and competing for the team record of most email replies in a day. 267 last Wednesday baby. By the end of the week I am burned out, tired out, and just plain out. I did a lot, but all I did was take care of what had to get done this week.

What about the plan for where I and my team will be in 2 years? Or the presentation on best practices that will teach my team great things? Not to mention that blog post I promised explaining the secrets of the universe that you have been anxiously waiting for. But we just don’t get around to it because we have twice as many things to do as we have time for.

Great people always have way more work than they have time for. As soon as you get good, you get even more work because you are a star and get it done.

So here is my challenge to myself and to you. One day per month, 8 hours, just 5% of your work time, commit to building the future. It can be something fun like planning a morale activity for your team. It can be something that will benefit others on your team such as teaching them about how The Hunger Games is a documentary about Enterprise Content Management. Or it can be that research you have been intending to conduct that will help you totally own things on that project coming up in 6 months. What about taking the time to build or improve something to make it faster and easier to complete a tedious task you often do? I also recommend doing something that will build new skills, such as a training on emotional intelligence or project management.  

I spend a lot of time building the future, but one day per month I focus on those long term things that are super valuable but just not critical priority day to day. What came out of it? 1. This blog wouldn’t exist. 2. I learned several great ideas on team leadership that I have taught to other people on my team and we all saw improvements in our team work.  3. I researched an emerging technology that we found some great uses for and we are investigating building. 4. When someone asked if I had heard about the previous technology, I already had an enormous presentation prepared that I emailed them. 5. I created a deck on PowerPoint presentations and presented it to students at a local school. Several people have thanked me, the teachers have said the level of presentations in their classes have drastically improved.

The bottom line: We can all find 1 day a month, just 5% of our work time, to build something that will pay long term dividends in the future. That 1 day per month is probably worth more than 5 days that I spend taking care of the day to day. But you need to do both, you can’t forget about the high priority daily tasks.

You can find 1 day per month from a couple hours each week or reserve one entire day to just focus on it. The important thing is that you reserve enough time to work on innovative and long term ideas. And pick the things you really enjoy about your job.

Don’t get stuck in the trap of just taking care of the day to day. Guarantee you spend at least sometime doing the fun parts of your work. Build the future, one day at time.


Quentin Christensen, Program Manager

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