In a Minute
Earlier this week I had some great conversations about time management and scheduling. In the course of our discussions we identified some things that seem really minor but which but which can have a significant impact on our time and stress resources.
Consider for a moment that innocuous phrase “I’ll ring you back in a minute”. How many times have you answered a phone call while in conversation with another person and used this phrase or something similar?
And then, how many times has the conversation got extended and you move on to something else and the promise made on the phone gets forgotten? Later, the caller rings again and brings aggravation and bad feeling to the interaction…
Or perhaps at work you get a call from a colleague or a client asking for some help and you say that you will get them sorted straight away but what you really mean is that, if you have the time and after you have dealt with other priorities you will get to it.
Or do you actually switch from what you are doing because “it will only take a minute” and then struggle to get back to the original job that you were doing? And then somebody else gets frustrated with you and you fell your stress levels rising.
We all have phrases and responses that we use that are intended just to get out of the immediate situation, and which the receiver may believe means that they are getting our attention. The reality may in fact be somewhat different as we were really only making a polite response to get out of the conversation and had no real intention on delivering on the innocuous promise that we have made.
The impact of these promises is that they may put us under greater time and resource constraints and unless we have time built into our daily schedule to allow for such events we are in effect making our life more stressful for ourselves.
And so my challenge to you this week is to be aware in your conversations of the time commitments that you are making. If you say that you are going to deal with something straight away, have you really got the time to do so or will you create additional pressures on other assignments? If you are not able to respond immediately give a realistic time frame and maybe even add a little extra contingency time to give yourself some breathing space to work at a steady pace rather than under excessive time constraints.
In my experience people prefer a longer time frame that is actually met rather than a short timeline that is not! Taking the opportunity to be realistic about time can significantly reduce our stress levels!