I write a lot of blogs and the simple fact is that thinking about what to write takes far more time than actually getting the blog written.
How long have you spent ‘thinking’ about making a phone call compared with how long the phone call actually took? The answer of course is dependent upon the nature of the call. If you want to order a takeaway pizza say, compared with a call to an irate client.
In essence the more importance attached to the activity ‘to be done’ dictates how long our thinking time is. The trick is to get the balance right between preparation and procrastination. My own saying on this subject is “Preparation is time invested, procrastination is time wasted.”
So how do we know the difference between valid preparation and procrastination? Honesty with yourself is of course required and you can also check with other people. Lack of confidence and/or fear in the task to be done is the biggest cause of procrastination. In direct contrast anger and high emotions are the biggest cause of lack of preparation. Be honest, how many times have you reacted without thinking only to regret your actions later? Biting your tongue and counting to ten may have given you enough time to prepare a more reasoned ‘response’.
Richard Branson’s latest book “Screw It, Let’s Do It!” is well worth a read and promotes ACTION not Procrastination! I have blogged before about the direct relationship between ‘Action’ and ‘Success’, success can never come before action, ever!
We are all different and our personality will dictate whether we are risk takers or not. Men are traditionally the ones that think they can put together the flat pack furniture or set up the new television without any need to read the instructions before hand! If you are like me, I usually have to admit defeat and refer to the manual after getting stuck. The initial lack of preparation was my downfall as I acted too quickly.
If you can get the balance right between preparation and procrastination then you can literally ‘win back’ many hours each week and also reduce your stress levels at the same time. Observe people that you admire and that have good organisational and time management skills, I bet they have the balance right. Talk to people about how they decide how much preparation or thinking time they give to each task or situation that arises? Experience is obviously a key factor in the equation as a task done many times will require less planning before doing, but don’t allow your lack of experience lead to procrastination.
What do you think? Is this idea already part of your time management strategy? Are you a ‘over thinker’, or do you ‘act’ too quickly? It would be great to hear your thoughts.
Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training
(Image by imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)