The Office Is Killing You

The jams were pumping.  The sun was shining.  My warm Yerba Matte was sitting at my side.  My sunglasses on, my suit fit well and felt comfortable.   As I sped past the slower, less motivated people on the road, my mind raced even faster than my car.  It had been a long morning already.

Stressfull office

I woke at 4:27 am, accidently.  But maybe by some cosmic chance I had been awaken because there was no better time for my brain to create these great ideas.  I’d been up all morning, just lying there in bed thinking about work and what I’d do with my team.  We were going to do this and that.  I’d implement a new system, a new approach.  I needed to delegate this and that.   These ideas were top notch.

I pulled into my parking spot, hopped out of the truck, and was on my way to destiny.  The tunes still ringing in my head I walked through the front lobby with a rhythmic bounce in my step.  A big smile was delivered from me to the receptionist, a welcomed rarity for her on a Monday morning.  I was certain she didn’t get too many of those.  It was waves, points, and high fives from that point on, all the way to my office.  Everyone I passed got one or the other.

I plopped my briefcase onto my desk, busted out the iPad, and fired up the PC.  I shuffled around the few papers I had left on my desk over the weekend while my PC warmed up.  As soon as she was ready I clicked the Outlook Icon.  I’m not sure why, I didn’t have an important email to send, habit I guess.  Thirty minutes later I found myself in the kitchen filling my thermos, which was once full of Yerbe Matte, with coffee.  Another hour later and I found myself answering some questions and helping an employee out with a task.  A phone call from a customer took another 30, then the subsequent reshuffling of our production schedule, which created a needed meeting with my foreman.  Next thing I knew it was lunch time and my great ideas, were dead.  I couldn’t even recall half of them.  Maybe it was because I had gotten up so early, or maybe a crash from the coffee.  Whatever it was I felt tire, lethargic, and just plain fatigued.  As I climbed into my truck to head home for lunch I thought to myself “where did my morning go?  What happened to all my ideas and my energy?”

An hour later I was on my way back to the office from lunch at home, again the scene repeats itself.  In my new found energy and drive I realized what had killed my morning…The Office.

Is the office killing you’re genius?  For many years the office has been a place of great works which separate what we do, from who we are.  In the office we’re Ted, on the golf course we’re buddy, at home we’re dad.  But is Ted really the best of us.  If we’re honest with ourselves usually we’d much rather play the role of buddy or dad than go the office and be Ted.  Why is that?  We spend 40 hours, at a minimum, usually more, in the office.

As I drove to work from that epiphany I had after lunch I compiled the 5 biggest reasons my office is killing me.  Maybe you can relate.


  1. Work for work’s sake – Why did I fire up that Outlook and dig myself into the email trench?  Habit.  When I have the time to sit for a moment I feel the need to do something productive, but not too difficult.  As a habit I usually open my Outlook, honestly hoping to find something good.
  2. Outlook – Like most executives it’s a black hole, an ugly necessity to doing business.  But is it really that important?  Why do we have a receptionist for the phone but email is a direct line?
  3. I’m too easy to find – Customers pop in to “chat.” Employees drop in with questions.  Customers and suppliers can call me anytime.  You need to avoid phone interruptions as much as possible.  With all this accessibility, it’s no wonder I’m constantly interrupted.
  4. I’m a creature of habit – I like routine, unfortunately, if I’m not careful I can let myself fall into a bad routine at work.  Often times, and without  even knowing it, my daily schedule is one of the biggest monsters who are killing my creativity and productivity.
  5. The To-Do List – the bigger it gets the less I want to tackle it.  The to do list is full of TASKS!  What’s fun about a task?  But often times when my wife asks when I get home “how was your day?” I respond with “well I did a lot, but I didn’t actually achieve much.”  Is your to do list taking up all your time on medial tasks?  As an executive your job is to steer the company in the right direction, and to do that, you need to have time to day dream, research the industry, and most important, have a little fun doing it.


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