Networking is all the rage and utilities like LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook provide a platform for both personal and professional connections. All of these in one way or another encourage you to post your status with a question like, “What are you doing right now?” It ‘s a fair question, “What are you working on?” (Even so, I am proposing a change in the way you think about your “status updates.”)
It is entirely possible to mistake activity for progress. Maybe a better question is, “What is the difference you are making?” Yes, I like that question better.
In time management terms, we aim to throw our time, energy, and creativity at the tasks and activities with real impact. That makes perfect sense, but how often do we run toward what has low value in the long term? We check off the tasks (with great satisfaction) without making real progress in our lives. We get “it” done, but we haven’t moved an inch closer to our vision.
There’s another reason to think about the difference you make. It’s a matter of marketing yourself and building your personal brand. Talking about what you did (in a performance review, on a resume, or a meeting with your boss) is less powerful than talking about the difference you made.
I challenge you this week to think about your “status” differently. As you plan your time, look for real impact. Check in with yourself frequently and ask, “What is the difference I am making, right now?”