We all know the saying, “Time is on your side.” The question is; is it really? As I work with people who are trying to be more productive, questions about time are a hot topic. Here are just few items to think about when you consider how you spend your time.
How often do you “touch” each email in your inbox? Two, three, four times? Many of us read the email once, then leave it in our inbox until we can finish the task, decide how to answer, find someone to delegate too. Yet, most of the time we skim over the same email for days. Finally we do whatever is needed or we delete it because it no longer matters. It takes time and ENERGY to skim those emails, leaving us feeling tired and overwhelmed. Time isn’t on your side when you are procrastinating. Read your email once then do what needs to be done. Change it to a task or an appointment, delegate immediately, pick up the phone and answer the question. Whatever it is, don’t wait. Make a goal to touch it once. You’ll be surprised how liberating it will be!
When it comes to decisions, “Strike while the iron is hot,” is a better way to get things done. Many of us wait to make decisions. We go to six stores hoping to find the perfect suit or dress, only to go back and buy the first thing we tried on. Worse yet, we wait to make the most IMPORTANT decisions. Waiting results wasted time and sleepless nights. It can even result in missed opportunity and regret.
I recently talked to a man who had been offered a promotion. For days, he sat on the decision. He knew he deserved the promotion and he wanted the bump in pay but the title and the tasks of the job were not quite what he had hoped for. So he sat, mulling it over, tossing and turning at night and delaying the conversation each time his boss approached.
“I can’t get anything done right now.”
“Why don’t you tell your boss what you want?” I asked. “Why waste all this time and energy?”
Later in the day he pulled me aside. “I did it! I called him. I told him what I was really hoping for. He said if I accept this now, it can be a stepping stone to where I want to be. I was glad I clarified my aspirations and both of us are excited now that I’ve accepted….”
How often do you delay hard conversations…even easy conversations because you are afraid of the outcome? How often do wait, considering the options, hoping for something better to come along instead of acting definitively? Most of us know exactly what needs to be done, but we wait days, months sometimes even years to make a decision.
Don’t wait! Do what needs to be done.
If you want time to be on your side. Be proactive!
Contributed by Suzette Blakemore, Regional Practice Leader, Productivity Practice, FranklinCovey Co.