What Have You Been Doing While I Was Gone

Have you ever been asked this question? Have you ever asked someone else this question?

If yes. Did the question cause a lot of anxiety or angst? It shouldn’t. Not if you were expecting it.

To me this is a reasonable question that one can expect to be asked. I think this is a question you can ask yourself too.  In fact, I think it is a question you should ask yourself regularly.

Whether you assigned yourself a task or whether you were assigned a task. The question and the answer to the question should be considered, calculated and documented. Yes, documented.

Remember, What Gets Measured Gets Done. If you aren’t documenting your time, your projects, your successes and your setbacks you won’t be able to go back and figure out what worked and what didn’t.

This is true whether you’ve been gone for 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months or even 5 years.

You should have an idea of what’s been done over that time period.


One way I prepare to answer this question is with what I call 3 up and 3 downs.

For 3 x3’s I keep a simple log of 3 things I’m going to do this week, What I’m going to do next week and what was done last week. You can keep track of these using electronic tools like OneNote or Evernote or you can use post-it notes or just a notepad. It’s really easy to do and it’s a great way to track your actions and activities. It also helps you prioritize your time. I’ve used 3×3’s to help my scheduling and also to help people I work with so that we can insure we are all on the same page.

Regarding 3×3’s: My recommendation and call to action

  • Try it for 1 month
  • Let me know how it went

So, next time you are thinking about what you need to do what you’ve been up to. Take the time to think about the question and be prepared to answer. Even if you are the person asking the question.

So, ask yourself … What have you been doing while you’ve been gone?


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.