In the course of events surrounding my every workday, I have the opportunity to interact with a great many diverse, busy people. Depending upon who and when you may ask, many will tell you that they are swamped and have little time for anything outside of their normal routine. Most will even go so far as to say that they never seem to have enough time to get things done. While that may be true for some, my experience tells me that while many people may believe this to be absolutely true, most tend to exist in a self-induced illusion of “busy-ness” and a general state of disorganization, possibly chaos. This however, is often a situation of their own choosing. Fortunately, there is a remedy to their madness.
In surprising ignorance, the Chief Engineer stated to me that he was too busy to consider any more new ideas. Too busy? What? His brash comment instantly reminded of the individual, who at the turn of the last century, had both the audacity and the ignorance to proclaim that there was no further need for the patent office. He believed that everything humanly imaginable had already been invented! One might be tempted to accept the conclusion that little had changed in the last one hundred years. Neither statement makes any real sense to me at all, especially when considering that the technology employed by the engineer was hopelessly outdated, somewhat unreliable and quite costly. The company, a major manufacturer of railroad switching equipment, is a leader in it’s field; a revelation that appeared somewhat contradictory considering this key decision-maker’s refusal to even listen to a bold new idea.
Seth Godin has written of “Lazy People in a Hurry,” nailing this cryptic thinking process. “Lazy, as in not willing to do the work to create long-term benefits. Lazy as in not willing to read the instructions, follow the manual, do all the steps, invest the time in the research” says Godin. They act busy, but never actually too busy to tell anyone who will listen. These people consistently appear to be in the middle of a project, seldom concluding anything or creating a stir. While dealing with any institution, your best bet is to bypass such an individual and locate someone else who is more eager to stand out!
It amazes me how people think that they are actually saving even a bit of time by rejecting a proposal or discarding a new idea for the sake of busy-ness. One simple, new idea might open new markets, drastically enable a company to dominate their industry and incredibly increase its bottom line. Imagine the salary and career options available to the employee who successfully presents such revolutionary new, market-changing ideas to the board.
Those who earnestly desire to escape the trap of busy-ness must learn the importance and critical nature of each of the following required skills:
1. Prioritize every task
2. Make bold, timely decisions
3. Act quickly
4. Review the results and make adjustments where necessary
5. Stay focused, keeping distractions at a distance
As manager of your own time, never deal with the same subject matter more than once. See it, solve it and move on. Make confident decisions based upon the facts and consequences as you understand them. Learn to act immediately upon your decisions. Never second guess yourself. Make note of the results your decisions and resultant actions have brought about, making necessary strategic adjustments and course corrections where needed. Trust your own judgment. Become confident in your ability to decide. Keep focused. Do not allow other people or circumstances to distract you from your purpose, especially those “lazy people in a hurry.”
Time-management, decision-making skills and the ability to act quickly are the emerging currencies of the future. As the distance to the world market is shrinking, opportunities have grown at a record pace and the speed required to act upon new information is unprecedented. Today and tomorrow, “He who hesitates truly loses.” Opportunity waits for no one and richly rewards the decisive.