I have a horrible time management problem that falls under the umbrella of procrastination.
No, not procrastination in the traditional sense, i.e. delaying a project. In that regard, I am the anti-procrastinator - as soon as I know I need to get something done, I tend to jump on it. I hate the nagging feeling of a big project hanging over my head and so I barrel in. (In a later blog post we will discuss Brian Tracy's book Eat That Frog which basically argues that you need to start your day tackling your biggest, ugliest project.)
My problem is one of mis-management of the present and the future.
When someone asks me to commit to something say 90 days in the future, I will invariably say "yes" because 90 days seems like forever to me and even though I would have no time for the project TODAY, I assume I will be able to take it on in 90 days.
The reality is however that saying "yes" is a way of delaying a decision. Somewhere in the back of my mind I am sure that I am thinking (by the time I have to deliver on my commitment, something may have changed and I will have a way out). I know, I know … that is a terrible way to think.
This is a truly horrible form of procrastination because it can impact other people if and when I pull the plug on a commitment. I really struggle with this and now I have a new rule:
IF SOMEONE ASKS ME TO DO SOMETHING 90 DAYS OR MORE IN THE FUTURE, I PRETEND THAT THE REQUEST IS FOR TOMORROW
I still struggle because I hate saying "no" but better to give a quick "no" than mislead people into thinking you might be a "yes."
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Jim Randel is the founder and author of The Skinny On book series, condensed explanations of important life skills. Randel's books are currently best sellers in China - three of his e-books in the top 100 best-selling e-books in China. The Skinny on Time Management is #10 on the e-book best seller list in China, and #2 on Amazon.com's list of best-selling e-books in Chinese.