By Jeff Beals
“The master of making copies.”
That’s how co-workers described a sales rep I recently met while visiting one of my client companies. I won’t say what industry the guy works in, because it doesn’t really matter. Suffice it to say that the sales rep in question is good with clients. He knows his company and his products. His only problem is a perpetual tendency to hesitate. He does not take quick action.
This interaction was timely, because I have been thinking a great deal lately about proactivity and avoiding procrastination.
I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or not, but I have read three articles over the past week that mentioned a certain kind of procrastination: over preparation. One writer referred to it as “getting ready to get ready.” Another called it “preparing to prepare.”
In other words, some people can become practically paralyzed by over preparation.
Over preparation is a form of procrastination, which is a form of perfectionism. A perfectionist procrastinator does not want to act until everything is perfect and every detail ironed out. The problem is that nothing is ever perfect. If taken to an extreme, a perfectionist procrastinator will never stop preparing to prepare or getting ready to get ready.
Perfectionism/procrastination isn’t the only challenge busy professionals face each day. As the demands on our time grow, we need be razor-focused and make time our ally instead of our enemy.
Management theorist Peter Drucker once said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”
In order to achieve your goals, you must develop superior time management skills. Time is the world’s most precious resource.
If you need more investment capital, you can find it. If you need more talented people to work for you, you can find them. Unfortunately, you can never find more time. It is finite. It is fleeting in nature. Once it is gone, it can never be recovered. Time is also a great equalizer – rich or poor, stupid or brilliant, everyone has the same number of hours in the day.
Nobody actually perfects the art of time management. With dedication and practice, however, you can come close. The problem is that most people find time management to be quite difficult. There are so many tempting time wasters in our lives. What’s more, it tends to be more fun to waste time than conserve it.
Entire books have been written and semester-long courses have been taught about the intricacies of time management, but one of the best ways to manage time is to minimize the biggest time wasters:
- People interruptions when it’s time to focus
- Inability to say “no”
- Lack of planning
- Failing to put first things first
- Excessive social media, internet and video games
- Too much socializing
Now, none of this is to imply that you must extinguish all fun from your life. That would be a mistake, for fun-haters don’t live as long and don’t lead as meaningful of lives. We just need to schedule our enjoyable activities carefully. We need recreation in life, but recreation becomes rather meaningless if we’re not working actively and diligently the rest of the time.
Ultimately, no one but you should be able to control your time and how you use it. If you allow people to abuse your time, they will do it happily. People can be rather obnoxious when it comes to time usurping.
The colorful and controversial U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “Heck, by the time a man scratches his behind, clears his throat and tells me how smart he is, we’ve already wasted 15 minutes.”
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at email@example.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop, Washington, DC
“A couple of my Dean’s Fellows recently said your presentation two years ago about building your personal brand was their best experience at Creighton.” – Dr. Anthony R. Hendrickson, Dean, Heider College of Business, Creighton University