Roland Dürre
Saturday February 2nd, 2019

About To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists …


With my friend Dr. Marcus Raitner during the legendary Dornbirn PM Camp (2013).

There are some blogs that I enjoy reading and about which I also know that I can recommend every individual article therein. One of them is Führung erfahren, which is by Marcus Raitner.

Today, I read the current article by Marcus:
Von den Stoikern Gelassenheit lernen

In this article, Marcus, among other ideas, does some contemplation on Sylvester-Good-Intentions that later became non-existent. Let me cite:
“I was going to be more considerate with my time, I wanted to become more focused and better at giving the right things priority”.

And, of course (the “of course“ is my perspective), he did not succeed. Not because he was too weak. On the contrary: it is very normal that such rules will not work in life, as Marcus can testify: 
”As that of many others, my calendar is full and the five-hour rule as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet introduced it (invest five hours every week in reflections and learning) seems a thing that simply cannot be achieved”.

Quite apart from the fact (and this is again my personal view) that this five-hours rule is not a good one. If anything, you should plan to work a maximum of five hours organized by others on every workday (!) and to donate the rest of the week to yourself. I write “maximum”, because for me these five hours are already too much.

Here is another citation of Marcus:
“… is somehow or other interesting or important (or at least might be interesting or important) and thus the calendar is always more than full, which is also true for the to-do list. Consequently, focusing is first and foremost the question of knowing yourself.“

I do not believe in to-do lists and not-to-do lists. They do the opposite of what you hope they might do. However, self-realization is certainly an important requirement if you want to change. It is not just about priorities in the existing pattern of life or about doing things another way or breaking with a few patterns. The change has to be a radical one. You need to start a new life.

Here is what I propose: it is a good start for change in your own life if you just remove two things completely from your life. To me, the following candidates are obvious:

  • Driving cars.
  • Let the alarm clock wake you up.

Mind you, I do not mean this as a joke. If you manage to remove these two things from your life, you are well under way towards happiness. I managed both. And since I no longer sit in a car at regular intervals, I feel a lot better.

No longer driving a car means, for instance, that you ride your bike. Consequently, you have exercise, instead of having to sit still behind the wheel and never being able to relax mentally. You win time. And if they have no car, it means for most people that they need to work a lot less. After all, they no longer have to earn the money the car costs.

No longer having an alarm clock, too, changes your life dramatically. You get to sleep earlier, eat less at night and no longer schedule pointless meetings early in the morning. And the body will always get exactly the amount of sleep it actually needs. That makes for an increased health and better performance.

Especially entrepreneurs or managers (well, manager is an anti-word, it used to be the leader or the leadership role) can more easily determine what they want to do when, which is not so easy for the train driver or the general practitioner.

We entrepreneurs and leaders are very lucky in that respect, because we have a lot more flexibility than most people in this world. But we actually have to make good use of it – and we must set an example for the others as the leaders in new work. It is up to us.

The downside is that we have to kiss old habits good-bye. And nobody wants that. But it works! I can guarantee it. Just as I can guarantee by 100 % that, if you smile at the mirror, you will see someone smiling back at you. And that is a nice feeling. So: smile at the mirror, sell your car and lock up your alarm clock!

As it happens, 
Marcus gives us a nice metaphor:
“I am absolutely convinced that elephants can learn to dance.”

With Dr. Stefan Hagen, also during the Dornbirn PM camp of October 2013.

That is probably the only important issue where Marcus and I have different opinions.

The elephant metaphor means that huge concerns can actually become agile. I do not think that such a transformation is possible. And also, I cannot imagine that this might be the famous exception from the rule. Whenever I saw concerns try to transform, they failed in the end. In the best case, small biotopes were created, but they were always taken over by reality.

So I plead to abandon the business circus where strange but terribly well-paid actors of the genre business theatre want to make the elephant they administer (and exploit) dance. Let us start a beautiful work life. Where we, as lazy leaders, will limit ourselves to dedicating our time to people (for instance our employees and customers) and to be there when they need us!

Even if it means that we will then no longer get millions in income and compensation – as currently the stars in the business theatre do. None of them are really needed. 
🙂 Neither the millions, nor the business theatre.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu “About To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists …”

  1. Dr. Marcus Raitner (Saturday February 2nd, 2019)

    Lieber Roland, ich fühle mich geschmeichelt. Und gleichzeitig erinnert es mich, wie sehr das PM Camp Dornbirn fehlt. Auch und gerade weil wir zwei es trotz räumlicher Nähe sonst nicht schaffen uns zu treffen … Eine Anmerkungen zu dem tanzenden Elefanten: diese Metapher habe ich mir bei Lou Gerstner dem ehem. CEO von IBM ausgeliehen. Ob und inwieweit ihm das wirklich gelang bei IBM kannst du bestimmt besser beurteilen. Ob und inwieweit meine Tanzstunden erfolgreich sind, wird sich erst noch zeigen …

  2. rd (Saturday February 2nd, 2019)

    Wie auch immer, ich drück Dir die Daumen. Lass die Elefanten tanzen. Das ist ein schöner Traum. Und beim nächsten Treffen bring ich einen Verona vom Supremo mit!

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