Want to be successful? Try hiding.

Ed BurghardQuiet time is Important. The world is a battlefield so why would you not prepare yourself for battle?!

You want to be even more successful?

Try hiding.

I know it sounds crazy, but hiding can actually be a great enabler of success.  We are all inundated with requests for help and a never-ending list of priorities.  Whether we like to admit it or not, the situation often becomes overwhelming.  We begin missing deadlines and feeling terrible about having made and broken well-intended commitments.

Hiding is one way to help you deliver high quality work on a timely basis.  By hiding, you insulate yourself from distraction and create an opportunity to complete the work you committed to get done.

 Principles of Hiding

  • Identify “hiding” tasks and share them with your team and boss.  These are tasks that are best completed alone and with a minimum of distraction.
  • Hide TO WORK not FROM WORK.  Hiding is all about getting work done.  You should have a plan for how you will attack the work and the discipline to follow-through with that plan.  Do not use hiding as another excuse to procrastinate.
  • Inform one or at most two people about where you will be hiding.  If there is an emergency, you will want to be disturbed.  But, make certain the people you tell will only bother you in the case of a true emergency.
  • Be highly selective in communication when hiding.  This is precious time you have carved out in the day to get work done.  Do not spend it on the phone, or texting, or doing email.  Spend it doing work that only you can do and you need quiet to get done.

Virtual Hiding

  • No phone.
  • No email.
  • No FaceBook or any other social media.

Physical Hiding

  • Work from home.
  • Lock your office door.
  • If you work in a cubicle, find a quiet spot in the office where nobody will inadvertently bump into you.
  • Go off-site (e.g. a library).

Calendar Hiding

  • Pre-book meetings with yourself so you have time to work.
  • Make sure you add 30-minutes to the end of every meeting you attend to allow time to document next steps for the commitments you made.
  • Clear email only at the start and end of your day.  Use the bulk of your time in the office to interact with people and to get your work completed.
  • Use lunch and breaks as networking opportunities.  Never eat alone in your office or work through lunch.  Interact with people!

I learned to hide early in my career when a Manager I had sat me down and told me the company didn’t care how I got the work done as long as it was done on time and under budget.  He shared his favorite habit of going to the library whenever he required a few hours of quiet time to complete a task.  From that day forward in my career I hid my way to success.  It became one of the ways I was able to maintain a high level of personal capacity despite an increasing scope of responsibility.

The next time you are staring at a major deadline or a mountain of work, try hiding.  I bet you will complete the assignment on time and with far less stress.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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