This week, I’m going to write about how deficits, those times in
our lives where we feel malnourished, depressed, overextended, can actually be
a great benefit to future success. The truth is, there’s no better time to
reevaluate your process than when things aren’t going well. We’ve all heard
very successful people say they learned more from failure than success and
there’s a reason for that. Because it’s true! The trick is to efficiently
breakdown the reasons for your deficits, rectify them, and then utilize that
knowledge so that when the surpluses come roaring back (and they will), you can
manage that success with more efficiency and, hopefully, more longevity.
One of the most basic “deficits” that almost everyone faces, is
time. We are all over run by obligations, by our schedules, by our
calendars, that keep telling us we have a meeting, a new employee to train, a
work lunch with a VIP investor, dry cleaning to pick up, etc., and the stress
of these various duties can be overwhelming. So, how do we deal with 25 hours
of need-to-get-done tasks when we all know we only have 24 hours to work with?
Here are a few ways guidelines that I’ve utilized in my life that
have helped me manage my time deficits:
- Glass VS Rubber? – You’ve checked your
calendar. You have ten things to do and two hours to do it. What will
break if you don’t do it? What’s made of glass? What will bounce if you
don’t do it? What’s made of rubber? Identify these two distinct outcomes
and act accordingly. Get the Glass Items accomplished first. Put all your
energy on those tasks. Prioritizing is crucial if you want to get out of a
deficit cycle. As for the Rubber Items, one way to get those things done
- Delegate – In many cases, you run out of time because
you weren’t able or willing to delegate the task to others. You have
people in your life, professionally and otherwise, to help. Use them! If
you’ve had people drop the ball in the past, take this time to retrain or
instruct more thoroughly. Let go! If you’ve done your job in selecting and
training those that you delegate to, you should be pleasantly surprised
with the outcome.
- Push Back – In many cases, you can’t delegate the
Rubber Items. So what then? It’s okay to admit that sometimes we
over extend ourselves. Call the VIP investor and tell him you have to
reschedule. Be apologetic, but firm. Find a new time and place that you
KNOW you can commit to. Make that next week’s Glass Item. This isn’t what
we want of course, to cancel or delay, but sometimes it’s the best
possible option. Instead of the 3pm today, when you’d be frazzled,
distracted, and otherwise not fully present, make it next Monday, when you
can be at your best.
- Redesign For Simplicity – Now that you’ve
delegated or postponed a few of those Rubber Items, you might STILL feel a
time crunch. At this point, you have to look at yourself. Are you
being the most efficient version of YOU? My guess is maybe not. Take this
time to redesign your efforts to simplify your work process. Often, this
might mean resetting expectations. So, if you can’t postpone that VIP
lunch, let him know that the lunch might just be coffee. Make this known
as soon as possible, so no one is surprised by the edited outcome.
- Learn From the Experience – In some cases,
you’ll burn a bridge or disappoint others with approaches 2-4.
That’s the price of overcommitting yourself. Learn from this! In the
future, when you are approached with assignments and/or opportunities, be
vigilant about accepting them, remembering the triage you had to go
through last time your stretched your schedule to the breaking point.
you have any tips on how to solve a calendar crunch? If I choose to add
yours to the above list, I’ll send you a $15 Amazon gift certificate!