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Have you ever put much consideration into how long it takes you to do certain tasks?  Email, newsletters, reports/paperwork, cooking, putting away items?  I ask this question in part to bring awareness to the actual time it takes AND to bring awareness to the conversations we have with ourselves around these tasks.

The situation that brought this to mind was my recent commitment to eating at home instead of dining out.  I became aware of my internal conversation that eating out takes less time than preparing meals at home.  In my mind, it took hours to prepare meals.  I noticed that I actually spent at least as much time driving to my destination and waiting for my meal to be prepared.  I also found that there are plenty of meals I could prepare in just a few minutes.

So you may be asking, how does this apply to my work?  I find that we either over or under estimate the amount of time that it takes to do certain tasks!

  • Consider the items that you procrastinate on because they take too long.
  • Consider when you dump an item on your desk [or elsewhere] with the thought that you will put it where it belongs later.
  • Consider the amount of time it would take to just call someone to schedule that appointment, clarify that point, or get that fixed.

I invite you to consider that we often stop taking action or postpone action due to how long we think something will take.  I invite you to challenge your inner conversation.  Ask yourself is that really true?  What can I do now to get started?  I invite you to do it now!

This is how I keep myself from piling things on my desk, or especially my bathroom counter…when I have the thought “I will put it away later”, I remind myself it will take less than 15 seconds to put it away now.  If I wait until later and continue in this vain, it will take 15 minutes because I have allowed things to pile up. 

What do you see for yourself out of this conversation???