Business: Working In vs. Working On

by Dianna Brodine, Plastics Business

In the month of October, I attended three conferences/tradeshows. That’s three terrific events filled with valuable contacts, solid industry data and important updates on technology that impact operations for the readers of our magazine.

I came back to a full email inbox, several deadlines to meet and a very long To Do list. I had to ask myself a question.

Am I working in the business, or am I working on the business?

Deadlines have to be met. Emails have to be answered. But, as MAPP Benchmarking Conference keynote speaker Jack Daly was happy to remind us, we often focus on the urgent while neglecting the important. So, I took a couple of days to pound out a few “urgent” items to ensure I remained employed, and now I’m devoting two days to the “important” stuff that often gets left behind when attendees return home from tradeshows or conferences.

  • I’m going to look over the notes I took.
  • I’m going to take new notes, with an eye to turning the great ideas into something I can add to my To Do list.
  • I’m going to reach out to a few people I met to keep our connection growing.

It’s not easy to plan for the future when the present is screaming for your attention, but how do you justify the expense (in time, money and lost production) of attending a conference or tradeshow if those days out of the office don’t provide any value once you return home?

What will YOU do to focus on the things in your business that are important?