Are you waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to get going on your projects (big or small)? Well…
There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now. —Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver’s quote applies to writing, studying, completing budgets, preparing for meetings, creating presentations, sending thank you notes, calling to set up appointments, and to so many other tasks, commitments, and responsibilities that you have both professionally and personally. Let’s apply it to your physical and email in-box, for the purposes of this article.
It’s possible that you have looked at a piece of paper from your mail and thought, ‘I need to sign this and send it back,’ or ‘Hmmm, this looks interesting. I think I’ll send in a check so I can attend.’ However, instead of immediately signing and sending, or writing a check and mailing, you drop the items back into the in-box or pile to “do later.” Reread the quote: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.” How about signing and sending the paper back or writing the check so you can attend – and doing those things now, while you are pulling the items from your in-box. Certainly, don’t read through them, think about what you want to do and then just plunk them back in the in-box where you can go through that whole process again. Yikes – what a time and mental-energy waster.
With email, the delaying tactic is quite similar. If you’re a teacher, you might open an email from a parent, read it, mentally know what your response is, but then you don’t type it and send it. Somehow you think that if you wait, you’ll be able to respond more professionally/cleverly/personally. You think “I need my gradebook before I can answer this email” but even though your gradebook is fewer than 20 steps away, you don’t get it and respond to the parent. Instead, you go on to the next email where the process may be repeated. You have mentally “acted upon” each of these items, but in reality, nothing occurred. Of course, the next time you sit down to look at your email, all those items are still sitting there, waiting for you to process them again… And the parent who sent you the email is complaining to everyone within earshot that you don’t respond to your email. What an incredible waste of time, energy, and intellect.
You will not find the “perfect” time to handle routine tasks that show up in your physical or electronic in-box. Wait, yes you will – it’s now. Try it and see what a relief it is to do so. Keep applying it to other projects and tasks, too. You will be more peacefully productive before you know it!
And if you would like many more tips to help you keep moving forward on your goals for more peaceful productivity, then you’re invited to join others (worldwide) who receive Meggin’s weekly emails (and see what is available for download at no cost at the following websites):
**Top Ten Productivity Tips (http://www.TopTenProductivityTips.com)
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(c) 2009 by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., “The Ph.D. of Productivity”(tm). Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh changes what people know, feel, dream, and do. Sound interesting? It is!