What do you want, when do you want it? That’s often a question I ask people as I’m starting to work with them. It’s a very simple question, but many times very hard to answer. The main reason for this is simply the fact that people in today’s world have so many distractions that they lose focus on what they really want. Simple time management practices are key in getting any long term projects done. But even with knowledge of these principles, at times things don’t get done.
In his book, the Magic of Thinking Big, Dr. David J. Schwartz suggested that there are three key diseases that affect effective time management. It is as true today as it was 50 years ago when he wrote about it:
The first disease, Excusitis, is simply the disease of having what seems to be valid reasons for not achieving a particular goal. For example, say you’re looking to increase your income by searching for a higher paying job. A person suffering from excusitis might blame the economy, or suggest that the person who is in The White House is the sole reason they have not been succeeding. When you focus on areas that you have absolutely no control over, you might as it’s like suggesting that it’s not the team’s fault they lost the game, it was yours for not watching. There’s two questions that you can ask yourself. Think, “What does this really have to do with the current state of my current situation?” Are the economy and politics a factor? Absolutely. Are they the deciding factor to the success of whether you get that next opportunity? Absolutely Not. Focus on the solutions, nothing else.
The second disease, Detailitis, is I think definitely the trickiest of the three diseases. I know I have problems with this one myself and I always have. Detailitis infects those people who get frozen on making decisions because they don’t feel they have enough information. Me being a very analytical type person, the more information I have about a given subject, the easier it is for me to make that decision. However, if you feel like the information is trickling in or if you’re waiting for all your ducks to line up in a row, sometimes a mental paralysis occurs that will get stronger over time. Uncertainty turns into frustration which eventually turns into fear. Action is what cures fear, not more and more information. Get the vital pieces to make a sound decision and then move forward. Let action, not indecisiveness control your results.
The third and possibly the most powerful of these diseases is Procrastination – aka “Why do it today when you can do it tomorrow?-itis”. I covered this disease in the initial post for NI, but I’ll mention it here again. This is a major killer of getting things done. When poor time management and lack of knowledge come to a head, this is the ugly outcome. Again, if you hear yourself say this, tell yourself: “What am I saying? Today’s as good a day as any to get this done! It won’t take forever. Plus, I can have a break if it starts taking too long.” Personally, I relate it to this statement: “When do you tell your parents you appreciate them? Before it’s too late and you can’t anymore.” The catch is this: if you want to position yourself for continued success in the future, you need to learn how to gain control over your time management by avoiding these 3 failure diseases. The future is yours. Grab ahold of it today!
So What Do You Think? Are there any other failure diseases that you can think of that get in your way of achieving your goals?