A unique cause and effect of creativity are that it increases maintenance. As a new product or strategy is introduced, typically a new process is established alongside to manage this new initiative. An innovators’ fallacy is the creation of a new service and does not understand the continued product support needed to implement and maintain it.
Looking at yourself or an organization, recognize that there is a percentage timeframe for what you dedicate to growth and the other half to maintenance. Depending on the position, the organization, or even the personality types, the percentage of time dedication will vary. Technicians may dedicate 80% of their time to maintenance-based tasks and 20% to development where their engineers may spend 40% on maintenance and 60% on growth while the group’s manager may spend their time in a 50/50 split. The key is to determine the role and culture that you are in and what the right time balance is for you to be successful.
Now that you know where you spend your time and where you need to spend your time in the last part of the coaching exercise is figuring out how to close the gap. Covey’s advice of scheduling the big goals first is a great starting point, but this will also need to be a repeat exercise for once you clear out your maintenance tasks, you will enable greater innovation which will lead to more maintenance. The way to combat this iterative cycle is to routinely look at your schedule, your tasks, and the value provided. Being able to understand your percentage of how you balance your time and then being able to attack your maintenance tasks routinely.
What tasks can I eliminate and recognize what efforts go unused or unnoticed? What tasks can I automate and never have to manually touch again? Are there tasks that can be streamlined or made more efficient so that it doesn’t take away so much time? Lastly, what tasks can I outsource, do you enjoy mowing your lawn or is it worth the money to have a neighbor kid do it so that you can spend that time on what you’re passionate about?
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