Focus Friday: I Can Have My Cake and Eat It Too

by, Devisa Ransom, Xerox Analyst Relations

Oprah Winfrey said, “I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. “  I love Oprah, but I’ve never understood why I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too.  Why should I choose between the things I love – spending quality time with family and friends, volunteering at local charities and having a rewarding career? 

I must admit, I get overwhelmed at times.  It seems there is always something to do and somewhere to be.  Deadlines at work, my nephew’s tee-ball game, a food and clothing drive for the local shelter… the list goes on and on.  Everything seems worthwhile and important.  How can I do them all? 

Then it struck me.  While it is impossible to accomplish everything at the exact same time, you can still accomplish everything you set out to do.  The key is to prioritize and compartmentalize.  In other words, you determine what’s most important and organize it into smaller, more manageable projects. 

For example, I find working with research analysts stimulating and rewarding.  Being rated a market leader by top industry influencers is extremely gratifying.  But, anyone who has ever participated in a major market assessment knows the process can be overwhelming.   There is complex data-gathering, client reference coordination and capabilities briefings – all on top of numerous daily e-mail queries, analyst inquiries, surveys and strategy sessions.  While this keeps me stimulated, juggling deadlines can be daunting.  This is especially stressful after becoming committee chair for a high-profile museum gala within the same timeframe.     

So how do I pull off the impossible?  I prioritize and compartmentalize by:

  • Logging in all project requests:  write down everything and use one calendar for both work and personal commitments


  • Determining deliverables and deadlines:  identify what is expected and when it is due


  • Organizing by relevance and deadline:  realize not everything can be done at once, so  establish criteria to determine relevance and prioritize to ensure deadlines are met


  • Developing and implementing a project plan:  determine what needs to be done, how to do it and complete the task


  • Evaluating and refining the process:  determine what worked and change what didn’t so that the process works smoother the next time

This is not unlike what Xerox does for our customers every day.  We simplify complex business processes so our customers can focus on what matters most – their real business.  I’ve learned that by setting priorities and dividing things into smaller, more manageable projects, I CAN accomplish everything I set out to do.

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