Have You Got Time For That?

compurerfrustrationOne of the best pieces of advice I got from my mentor Alex Jeffreys was to keep a series of books containing what you have done, the did, and what you plan to do.

Of the 2 books the ‘to do’ is the most important for me, as when this is used correctly you can control your instinct to over focus on a single problem. Of course it takes practise to ignore your inner instinct and stick to your plan but it really is worth the effort.

If you do not believe me then here is a real life example.

On Sunday my schedule was very full, especially as I had taken the opportunity to work at an enhanced night shift rate later that day.

One of the scheduled tasks was to discover valuable content from across the Internet related to my marketing interests and share this with my followers over the next 7 days. For this I use Hootsuite, as it allows me to schedule my updates across several social media sites and respond to any questions all from one control panel.

Hootsuite also has a feature called bulk upload, which I had never used before this fateful day. It provides a means of adding the weeks entire schedule in one easy process, they even provided a template so what could be easier than that.

This learning curve of using this process was not part of the days schedule but as it was not going to take more than 10 minutes, there would be no harm in using this technique. Well after 3 hours I had still not got the process to work and of course my schedule was shot to pieces, I resorted to manually adding each update just to get the task completed.

One of my weakness or strengths depending upon the situation, is that one I am faced with a challenge I won’t give up until a solution is found, even if that means other priorities fall by the wayside.

I am slowly learning that this can be massively counter-productive and the schedule should always be taken as gospel for one very important reason. When you over focus on a problem you end up failing to see the alternative solutions or opportunities that lie around your current situation.

Once I had walked away from the problem, after a mere 5 minutes a possible solution came straight to the front of my mind. By 3am after my night shift I had the solution that I desired but failed to see due to being too focussed.

So what is the moral of the story?

If something unexpected occurs, whether it is an opportunity or a problem, give it 10 minutes to clarify itself. After this time, schedule a period later in the day, week or even month to give the real issues a closer examination. This way your daily schedule remains in tact and you remain able to get your tasks done in the correct order, which ultimately makes you feel better about yourself and more confident about your ability to manage the challenges that lie ahead.