How to Navigate the “Buzz” and Avoid the Trap of Responding

What is Most Important

Do you ever feel like you are in a turbulent sea of activity, requests, email, and general “buzz”? I recently found myself in a bit of this and knowing that I need to find my way to the big themes that were important for me and my team. There is always more than we can do, so how do we pick? How do we avoid letting people down?

For many of us at Interstates, a high level of service is an expectation we hold ourselves to. When we can’t get there, it adds a significant amount of negative stress to our lives. For me, I find that I have slid into responding-mode. I’ve fallen into the trap of responding to the world and letting it drive my day – and more than appropriate, my evenings and Saturdays too. This is when you know it is time to take control.

Step one is to decide what is important! In my case, I need to decide what only I can do and use that as the key driver for deciding what to spend my time and mental energy on. For the people that work around me, it is about helping them see how they can contribute and what is not needed. I would challenge us all to think about what we have let go to autopilot or “do on command” mode?

Responding vs. Deciding

Here are some signs that you are just responding and not deciding. First, you don’t have an organized to do list, you use your email and/or voicemail inbox instead (who’s deciding?). Second, you don’t put things on your calendar. Your time is spent in meetings others want you at. If you want to be there and see value in the collaboration, this can be great value. If you are just meeting someone else’s request and are unsure how you are adding value, you owe it to the meeting organizer to ask how they expect you to add value.

As you can see, this theme can go on and on. So, the key question here – are you deciding or are you just responding? Time to decide! Control your destiny, don’t just go for a ride on the roller coaster.

“Above all, be the hero(ine) of your life, not the victim…”- Nora Ephron


Keep leading the Interstates way!

Dave Crumrine, Interstates Construction President



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