Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bounce Forward resilience, To Do or Not To Do

To Do or Not to Do

“Have you ever noticed that people tackle the easy or exciting tasks first, or the ones they can do with their eyes closed when they are under stress?” asked a leader in a training session.

Smiling, I nodded and agreed, noting that we have all probably done that before. In fact, I believe that many people operate this way and that this approach is what increases their stress. Think about it for a moment. Your work day begins at 8:00 a.m. You quickly open your planner and tackle the easy and fast tasks first, check emails several times, and organize a pile on your desk that has been growing.

It is now 10:45 a.m. and you prepare quickly for your 11:00 a.m. You are almost late, you notice as you glance at the clock above the photocopier, which jams three times at 10:57.

Arriving on the nose at 11:00 a.m., you realize you have left your files, planner and note pad on your desk (but at least you have the copied documents you needed).

The meeting ends at 12:10 instead of 11:45 leaving you barely any time to finish the report that is due for the committee meeting at 1:00 p.m.

Arriving back at your office you open your planner, and notice that in your efforts to check off a bunch of small tasks off the to do list, you have not allowed yourself the time needed to prepare for the afternoon meeting or to make the dreaded phone call to a client who has been difficult at the best of times.

By the time the committee meeting ends, you are too tired to make the phone call and say, “I’ll get it done tomorrow.”

What happens is that at the end of the day, you still have your big top-three priority items that need your attention and you don’t have the energy to tackle them.

Dealing with the difficult or stressful tasks when you have the most energy is a great way to stay resilient throughout the day. Put some deadlines or timelines on your tasks as well. It is important, though, to be reasonable and fair with your deadlines.

This excerpt was from Charmaine Hammond’s Bounce Forward book. To learn more about this topic, check out Charmaine’s new book Bounce Forward. You can order your signed copy for $20, including GST and shipping by emailing or calling 780-798-2426.

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