“The waiting is the hardest part.” – Tom Petty
This adage applies on many fronts (remember desperately wanting to open gifts early as a kid?) and the feeling never really goes away, it just comes and goes in waves. Sometimes it is a result of others making you wait, and sometimes it’s because you’re either hesitating or are just plain stuck. It’s not unavoidable, but it’s bound to happen now and again. It’s a behavioral thing more often than not, and it’s not necessarily your behavior that has the greatest impact.
The real problem is that a lot of time is spent waiting and that often results in wanting. That wanting can come from yourself or—if you’re the one dealing out all the waiting—your colleagues and superiors. Rarely is this a wise move. I’ve been there…on both ends of the equation. Neither is really fun. While you can’t change other people’s behavior, you certainly can change yours.
So where does one begin? This is where putting a productivity and planning system in place is the most beneficial thing you can do. I did this quite some time ago, and while I have fallen off the wagon every once in a while, once you’ve got the basics down you’ll be able to get back to moving forward again more quickly.
I fell into productivity through a series of happy accidents. I found that I had a lot of irons in the fire, and I was frantically trying to keep pace without getting burned. I needed to put a trusted system in place that would allow me to simply get things done. But I’m a learner. We’re all learners really.
Here’s some startling stats when it comes to technology, software and the web and its affinity towards the productivity niche:
- over 130 web applications/software dedicated to productivity
- over 30 mobile applications
- over 100,000 “noteworthy” web sites focusing on productivity solutions, with many more that may not be as known. (I must point out that WorkAwesome does fall into the former category.)
We “learners” are faced with a ton of choices out there. In fact, there are tons of choices to help you choose what choice to make when it comes to a trusted system. With all of this laid out in front of you, you’re going to be left with more questions than answers. So let me help you get started on the right track with the most important question of all:
How do you know when you’re using a trusted system?
Initially, you’ll have to look around. Know thyself before you do, however. Are you a paper and pen kind of person or are you all about the tech? The more questions you ask yourself before diving in, the less likely you’ll be to wander aimlessly, searching for a port or an anchor that just isn’t there. And don’t think for a second that the aimlessness won’t apply to you if you’ve deliberated enough. Trust me, it will.
Next, you have to commit to using it for at least 30 days. There’s no way you’ll be able to properly test it out unless you do this. If you’ve done your homework, sticking to this shouldn’t be a problem. If you can’t make it through the trial period, go back to step one. If you do make it through and it just doesn’t fit the bill, repeat this step with a new system.
We’ve all heard that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. But have you heard the saying “If you overfail to overplan, then you overplan to overfail.” I didn’t think so. Because it doesn’t make any sense. And yet it does. Stay with me.
I’m all for planning. But there comes a point where you have to put the rubber to the road and get moving. If you overplan, that’s when you can fail your own system. When you’re getting paid to do a job, and you delay through distraction, deliberation and dilly-dallying, you are procrastinating. Most think this is bad, but not always. Innovation is often bred from perceived procrastination. Taking time to think and work things out in a legitimate manner is not procrastinating per se, but it can be if you’re supposed to be doing something else. You need to have a system in place that, much like the hangers, helps you recognize what is important and not necessarily urgent. They are two very different things.
You’re all smart people. So dumb down the processes you have around you that keep you from getting the important stuff done. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. Do that for as long as you can. Make things minimal so you can maximize your outcomes. It doesn’t even have to be direct. It just has to be directed.
So stop deliberating and start delivering….it’ll put more awesome in your work.
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