One Quick Way to Improve Time Management: Don’t Do It

If there’s anything life is short of it’s time.  You don’t have time to do all the work your bosses want you to do and you don’t even have time to do all the things you need to do like making more lists of the things you need to do.

There’s a perception that in the past life moved at a more leisurely pace.  But think about it.  That’s not likely the way it was.  People worked hard from sunup to sundown just to get enough for themselves and their families so they could do the same thing again the next day.  And people who had an abundance of stuff were the same as successful people of today – driven.  No House of Cardsbinging for them.  They could barely keep up with answering all those letters.

So maybe it’s a myth that the pace of life is faster now.  But it still seems too fast for comfort.  Don’t you yearn for a day, a morning, even an hour to get ahead?  Time management experts advise dividing tasks into priority lists.  The psychology of it is that you might never get to a #1 priority because those are usually hard and complicated and it’s a lot more fun doing a lot of #2 or #3 priorities because you get immediate gratification.  For example, instead of making that first contact to a potential client, you decide to spend fifteen minutes trimming your toenails.  It feels a lot more rewarding.

For people in business development and sales, one great approach is to further divide tasks into revenue-generating and nonrevenue-generating sections.  If you want to get more income, you need to spend more time doing the things that will lead to more sales.  But that’s so logical, I’m just referencing it.  Since life is fast and you’re doing the best you can already, maybe a counter-intuitive suggestion could take the pressure off.

Years ago I was friends with an executive here in DC.  George was everywhere doing everything – a whirlwind of positive energy.  He was a delightful man whom everyone liked and admired, but he always looked frazzled.  One day I was shocked at how much better he suddenly appeared.  He looked so great I thought he’d just then returned from vacation.  No, he said, he’d finally taken his wife’s advice.  She was so worried about him ruining his health, that she made him make a promise: every morning pick one thing he felt should be done that day and DON’T DO IT.

Consider this approach. Sure, there are a lot of things excluded from this technique, like remembering to pick up your kids from school, but will the world really come to an end if you don’t put that chart together on last quarter’s sales closing rates?  The DON’T DO IT approach gives you a feeling that you actually have control over your life. It can restore your positive mindset. It will allow you the freedom to trim your toenails before they curl over and damage your sandals.  A positive mindset means you’ll make that important client contact sooner than you would otherwise.  Procrastinate your way to success!  DON’T DO IT today for a calmer and more productive tomorrow.

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