Stop Wasting My Time
My patience for telemarketers lasts about 12 seconds. I’ll be dead before I know it, so these days, every second counts.
If you’re one of them, I’m sorry but I cannot talk to you about my electricity provider, a secret Government tax perk or a charity that wants to save the gay Harp Seal.
And when you say, “This is just a quick call to…” or “This will only take 2 minutes…” I know you’re lying. Ask my son; I’ve done farts that go longer than that.
But telemarketers are the least of my worries. Ask me about meetings…
One of the most unproductive activities to come out of the industrial age is the office meeting. I think it’s scientifically proven that 87% of meetings are unnecessary and actually damage the productivity they seek to produce.
The thing is, though, I actually love meetings. The only caveats are, they must relate to something I care about, have a clear agenda, a goal at the end and a time frame of fewer than 30 minutes. So that leaves out every meeting I’ve had for the last 11 years.
It’s not that people are intentionally wasting my time; they just can’t help it. They’re conditioned to think that if something takes longer, it must be more valuable.
However, I’m beginning to learn that the biggest time thieves in my life aren’t telemarketers or people who want a meeting. It’s actually me. Let me explain.
- I strive for perfection in my work. Yes, I know it doesn’t exist, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.
- I like people (honestly), so I tend to want to help them — even if it takes me away from what I need to do at that moment.
- I’m a man, so I think I can do everything on my own.
- I want to plan everything before I pull the trigger when what I should do is execute, then adjust along the way.
- I like to learn everything about a new subject before I try it, so I end up getting lost in a labyrinth of ‘stuff’ before I even take the first step.
- I’m still too focused on making right decisions instead of making decisions and then making them right.
Is any of this ringing bells? Please tell me I’m not alone. No, really, send me an email and tell me.
While you do that, I’ll tell the others how I’m starting to mend my ways. Here’s how I’m dealing with the biggest time-waster in my life.
- I’m learning that my clients don’t know what perfection is any better than I do. They hire me to do things they can’t, so no matter what I deliver, they’re usually happy.
- I’m learning to ask people, “What exactly can I do to help?” Usually, they have no idea, so right there, I’m off the hook.
- I can’t do everything on my own; I know that now. What’s more, it’s often cheaper to have someone else do it for me. And because of Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer and the local lawn-mowing guy, it’s easier than ever to let someone do a job for $50 that would take me three hours to complete. The maths don’t lie. And like I said, I’ll be dead before I know it and there are no gold stars in hell for mowing your own lawn.
- I’m realising now that when I plan something too precisely, the plan inevitably turns to sh*t two-thirds of the way in. So now what I do is create a mud map of where I want to go, and only plan one or two steps ahead. It works so much better and my shrivelled little brain always thanks me for it.
- I used to be obsessed with ‘Just-in-case’ learning. Oh, what a waste! Almost everything I learned was either useless or obsolete by the time I did anything with it. Nowadays, it’s ‘just-in-time’ learning for me!
- The last one I learned from a big loud American motivational speaker called Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones. He was awesome. But I’m getting old, so I forget things, and this is one of those powerful meta-principles that’s easy to forget. So I remind myself all the time that whether I make a decision or don’t make a decision, I’ve made a decision. And so I make a decision, then make it ‘right’ as I go along.
I know this is all a bit fluffy and existential, but I bet some of you are nodding along with me right now. The indisputable fact is we waste far too much time doing things that don’t add value to our lives when the one thing we can’t afford to waste is time.
And since I don’t want to waste any more of yours, I hereby endeth this story.
Oh, before you go, I wanted to tell you that I’m launching a podcast really soon. No doubt I’ll sound like a tool for the first 20 episodes but over time, I want it to become a beacon of light and encouragement for all of us mid-lifers.
Was that too much? Perhaps, but if you have some ideas on what you’d like me to discuss or who you’d like me to interview (perhaps it’s you), please flick me an email and let me know.
This is the book I’ve written about killing off your debt in 3 simple steps. It’s now available in paperback and Kindle, and I promise it’ll pay for itself a thousand times over. If you have debts, you need this book. If you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back.
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Your Biggest Problem is you Think you Have Time
5 Reasons it isn’t too late to Change Your Life
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit.
Originally published at Midlife Tribe — Midlife Mastery for Trailblazers.