Vail Valley: Are you diluted or deluded?
So many of the e-mail messages and calls I receive are requests for more time management strategies and general ideas on how to be better organized.
It seems like time compression is still a major challenge for all of us as we try to squeeze as much as we possibly can into each day and evening, compromising many other aspects of our lives. People are either working extremely hard to stay slightly ahead of the daily tasks and to-do’s, while others are barely keeping up, and some are always just running behind.
Here is what is happening in the personal and professional lives of so many time and task challenged individuals – dilution and delusion.
I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to being spread too thin. In a previous column I confessed I need to really work on saying “no” more often so I can become more effective and productive in completing projects, staying focused, and engaging in more meaningful relationships. I am a work in progress and getting better. But I am still diluting my efforts and productivity while deluding myself that I can keep up with it all.
Sound familiar? Are you now or have you ever struggled with trying to be everything to everybody, doing more and delegating less, and ending up with watered-down results?
Let’s talk about dilution first. If we can get into the habit of filtering and prioritizing the events of our day, we can stay ahead of the fire drills of life. The problem is that many of us who are in the diluted and deluded zone see everything as a fire drill and we want to put all the fires out as fast and urgently as we possibly can. One answer is to sort through each task or event and ask ourselves three questions:
• Is this really a priority right now?
• Am I the really the best or only person that can do this, or should I delegate it?
• What other task or event am I willing to sacrifice or give up?
It is a simple list, easy to remember, and when practiced can help us regain control of our time compressed life.
Being deluded has consequences of its own. We convince ourselves we can handle it all and nothing is slipping through the cracks. However, all of those around us – including our spouses, children, friends, and co-workers – not only see the stress and anxiety we live with every day, they lovingly and painfully have pointed it out several times. And what’s our answer? “Yes, I know, and I will get around to slowing down or fixing it just as soon as I get these other 999 things done.” So not only do we delude ourselves into the belief that we have it “handled,” every one of our relationships suffers tremendously.
One thing to think about working on is a reality check. Sit down with family, friends and peers and share your situation while seeking input. But be willing to hear the realities of where the hurts are and how the delusion is impacting both parties. Reality is sometimes like a bucket of ice water in the face but it can be very refreshing.
Some folks like to hide from authenticity and facts, preferring to live in the world of the diluted and deluded as they fear conflict and possibly dealing with the change that will be required. If this describes you, maybe like me, you too can become a work in progress creating more time and quality of time in your life.
Whether you are diluted, deluded, or both, let me know at email@example.com and make it a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of http://www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.