I’m out of time.
I really am out of time. Now what?
The day passed by, spiraled by, and I didn’t get it all done.
Dealing with time issues challenges anyone trying to get things done.
What’s the secret?
Out of time means something went wrong. Too much accepted or unanticipated consequences came up.
Unanticipated consequences invariably come up, at the most inconvenient times.
Jason screws up.
“Okay, I’ll come in and take care of it,” Jason states irritably. Yet again, Jason has to “save the day.” Jason frequently responds with, “I’ll deal with it.” He tells himself, “I’m the only one who can do it right.” One thing for sure, Jason feels confident in taking on tasks. He has the skills. But not the time. The next step Jason deals with—”how do I dig out of this mess?” Jason often runs out of time. He ends up firefighting.
In theory Jason can get all these done. However, unintended consequences, obstacles, issues pop up. These take time. Of course, Jason did not anticipate these and it frustrates him as he runs out of time each day.
The real issue jumps out at anyone observing Jason’s situation. Jason should have said “No” more often. Except the pressure was on to perform, to prove himself, to hit the goals.
Out of time? Start by saying “No.”
What does saying “No” have to do with running out of time?
It simply frees up time by not doing unimportant, non-urgent, non-aligned tasks. These tasks do not get closer to accomplishing the plan.
You do have a plan don’t you?
More time exists in the future.
Did you know more time exists in the future than today or tomorrow?
It’s a fact. (not really)
Ask anyone to take on an important task. It will be scheduled out there sometime. Or maybe look at yourself.
I know I find more time to do tasks tomorrow, next week, in a few weeks.
In reality, we fail to say “No,” like Jason. We’d rather schedule these lower priority tasks when we imagine we have more time.
Jason failed to say “No.” So he ran out of time.
Since you’ve starting saying “No” to tasks not aligned with your plan and values, it’s time for the next step.
Add spare capacity.
As you schedule the remaining priority tasks, intentionally schedule spare capacity around each priority.
Spare capacity represents free time that is not scheduled for anything.
To take care of mishaps, interruptions, emergencies, failures, schedule screw ups, things breaking requires time to address these issues. This time has to be allocated.
Without spare capacity allocated into and around activities, the days can easily be eaten up by firefighting, dealing with interruptions, fixing things, spending more time than anticipated on projects, setting up projects, and sorting out a myriad of issues that crop up.
Experts claim that highly structured tasks produce more when running at 70% to 80% capacity than when they run at 90% to 100% capacity. “It’s about time” Rajan Suri. 2010. p 80.
I agree, planning for spare capacity is counter intuitive.
Even though planning spare capacity around tasks seems counter intuitive, try it.
Say “No” to some tasks. Schedule the priority tasks and leave spare capacity in your schedule. You might find you no longer run out of time.
Unfortunately, it takes discipline. Discipline means planning and executing to plans. Planning means taking time to think things through. It turns out there’s no good short cut to planning and execution.
Spend 10 minutes each day planning what to do and what not to do.
If you want to talk through the sticky issues, contact Phil today at 503-753-9971 or email at phil@PhilBride.com for a complimentary 30 minutes to talk about your situation.
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