Best intentions – we all have ‘em! In fact, most of you who are reading this are probably working through a “To Do” list that you created for today. But you know what’s going to happen, don’t you? Something is going to “come up” which will throw your rhythm and routine to the wolves. That seems to happen an awful lot, doesn’t it? You’re not alone.
We’ve all had to deal with those things that have to be taken care of “immediately” or “right away.” They can’t possibly wait, can they? Well, if we take a very close look at those things that are so “urgent,” we’re going to find as Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “that which is urgent is seldom important while that which is important is seldom urgent.”
Are there things that actually have to be taken care of immediately? Of course there are. Let’s not get silly here. The point is there aren’t as many of those things as you might think.
There are 3 very powerful words that you can start using right away (see what I did there?) which will increase your personal and professional productivity ten-fold. Those words are “Not right now.”
Read those words aloud – right now. Practice saying them to yourself first, then practice saying them to your subordinates, if you have any. If you want to end the vicious cycle of adding to your “To Do” list or simply transferring tasks from one day’s list to the next day’s, you must get very skilled at using those three words. If you’re tempted to check your e-mail every 3 minutes, tell yourself, “not right now.” If one of your team members comes in with a so-called crisis that you know isn’t really a crisis, tell him or her, “not right now.” Make the most effective use of the time you have.
Remember that not everything is as urgent as it seems. Don’t forget that you can easily delegate some of these tasks to others. Closing your door is perfectly acceptable if you’re facing a deadline and working on something important. So many organizations still have crazy policies such as “managers must keep their doors open at all times.” That’s insane. If you’re allowing unfettered interruptions, how can you possible expect to get your personal work done? You can’t. And the cycle will continue.
Say them again – those words – those 3 beautiful, magical words – “Not right now.” Don’t say them simply to escape or shirk responsibility. Don’t keep your door closed just because you don’t want to deal with matters that are indeed important or urgent. That’s crap. But don’t be afraid to say those 3 words when they need to be said.
Your productivity depends on it.
What are your thoughts on this? Are these thoughts realistic or are they too harsh? Comment below and let’s get a discussion going!
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