Pace Yourself

When I see new things, I want to do them. I’m a very kinesthetic learner. This means I want to see, do, touch, try, rip apart and put back together. I want to know what it can do, what it could do, and where both it’s positives and negatives begin and end. If you aren’t sure, I am one more of those tumultuous ENFP people.

The problem is, I often find myself overbooked and tied to so many commitments and due-by dates, I cannot get anything done well. I am not the only person like this. I know many people in the corporate world who face this type of problem on a daily basis. Luckily, I once worked for the smartest Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force. When I found myself wrapped up in commitments, he would tell me to slow down.

When my Chief Master Sergeant told me to slow down, I had a tough time initially understanding what the Chief was trying to teach me. I was running full speed 12-hours a day, and I could not keep up. I had no idea how slowing down could get everything done. One thing I did know was that he never frivolously told anybody anything. If he told me to slow down, it was because he had been there, and he knew how to get out of the hole.

When a Chief Master Sergeant tells you to slow down, he is telling you to take grasp of your commitments. If something is needed and doable, do it. If other items are more urgent, do them first and get a reasonable extension for everything else. Have a plan of what you will do and when. Every time a new request or commitment comes in, put it into the plan. Does this mean your plans will change? Yep. A calendar or plan of To-Dos is never absolute. Plans and schedules are only directions that are hoped for until the next crisis or higher need shows up. You have to stay flexible in an ongoing situation.

This whole system only works if you are genuine to yourself and to those who are counting on you. You will need genuine communication skills to keep everyone you work with, and all your stakeholders in the loop. When a Chief Master Sergeant tells you to slow down, he is not telling you to take it easy. He is advising you to get yourself and those who count on you organized.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.


Slow Down

Do you find yourself being a little bit busy this time of year? This is the time of year for being busy. It could be worse because you could be like me. I’m still waiting for the Fourth of July and the fireworks to show up. I vaguely remember Labor Day because that’s when the balloons flew over my house. I live close to a park where they hold the balloon festival.

I find I’m not alone in the feeling that time is flowing too fast. Many others tell me the same thing. I believe that this is either an alien conspiracy, or I’m doing so much that I’m not able to pay attention to any single thing. I am not sure which. Although, I have never met ET.

When the artists of Europe dealt with cubism in the late 19th and early 20th century, they were sort of having the same problems and concerns. They felt that in their new mechanical age things were moving so fast that you could not get the full picture of any one scene. All that someone could see would be a slice of a view as they whisked by it.

I’m retired, and I have this problem. I can just imagine what someone with kids still at home, working a job, and trying to manage everything is facing right now. I can only do one thing for you, and it sounds crazy, it did to me the first time I was told to do it, and I can tell you it does work.

The trick to being on top of things is not to speed up. The real method is to slow down. Rather than pushing to meet an ever-demanding agenda, make your schedule work for you.

You know how much time you have, and what you can accomplish. You also understand if you speed up and only do a mediocre job or come in late with the project, you’re going to be in trouble anyway. So just take on what you can do and do it the best you can. If it is essential for you to do and you don’t have the time, ask for an extension up front. If it is something that will take you from other vital tasks, politely decline the request.

Your supervisors will respect you for your actions. Remember, if pushed, you can always go to your supervisors, show them your schedule and ask for their assistance in what priority should be assigned to which project. It shows that you’re willing to work with management and be sure that your tasks have the time needed to be done correctly.

Of course, this is just an opinion from the mean old Master Sergeant.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

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