Can’t stick to a planned schedule? Here’s 10 tips to get things done anyway!

Everyone has “to-do” lists. They tell us what we should be doing.

Some quite efficient people seem to manage without them, though. Let us say you know exactly what you are going to do the next morning, and you wake up charged with anticipation. In fact, you tell yourself, you are going to add one more task to the list.  What happens next is not fate 90% of the time – it’s your own doing (or undoing).

Let’s look at whether people who can, in fact, perform well without planned schedules, with a real example with hidden tips in them. Our electrician does not have significant educational qualifications. He is quite successful financially in spite of a lack of credentials. With an unpretentious manner and penchants for long chats, he is popular. He has a large, contented (or so he says) family. He takes work whenever it comes his way, and appears to have plenty. Does he have a secret here that we should be knowing about? 

A discreet look at Tom at work revealed the following useful tips on a good approach if one can’t stick to a planned schedule.

1. Though of gregarious nature, Tom engaged in chats only when his job was done.  After the short initial pleasantries, he would get down to serious work, and for the next hour or two, there would be dead silence and deep concentration.  If you spoke, Tom would ignore you. If you offered him a cool drink, it being so hot out there, Tom would grunt – meaning “later“. How does this work for you and me?  In short, once you start a job you could use the same tactics. Do not allow distractions to come in your way, e.g. checking messages or surfing the net for better vehicles.

2. We never saw Tom without his toolbox that contained necessary as well as, what we might consider unnecessary items, such as a piece of rope or assorted pieces of wood. Why would an electrician carry rope and wood? We can take a tip from him.  Have all our tools in one place as well as a few extras that might come in handy. It’s part of being efficient as well as a time saver

3. We never noticed Tom carrying a notebook or ticking off jobs. He took them as they came, but easily killed them off one by one with dedicated passion. 

4. Tom did take breaks, but was once the job was done. He knew about everyone’s personal lives and quite possibly all his clients knew of his. Our tip here is - building rapport with our co-workers leads to better cooperation, less stress and a happier mindset that lends itself to spells of hard work ungrudgingly.

5. Distractions are inevitable but Tom just ignored telephone calls from clients until he had finished the job in hand. We never saw him clean the sweat off his brow and wipe his hands to answer his mobile phone.  So, do not deviate or procrastinate.

6. One thing we noticed was that he had learned the art of prioritizing. It seemed to come naturally. Of his five pending calls, he would pick jobs in order of urgency, and keep his clientele informed. He had mastered prioritizing coupled with accountability. Needless to say, priority jobs brought him premium rates.  That is our tip, prioritizing and being accountable brings money.

 7. Clients could be a nuisance, sometimes drawing him off the job in hand to inspect another matter.  This individual never did things in between.  The only answer would be another grunt, meaning "I might see to it once I am done here". Our tip here is– never leave a job partly done.  This requires a LOT of discipline, especially if you are a person who is easily distracted and are beginning to get bored.  The biggest reward in being steadfast is the time to relax when the job is finished. 

8. Overcome that urge for a little rest midway. It’s a mindset and some boredom at the back of your mind.  You would know this to be true if someone whose company you enjoy came right then and offered to take you out for coffee – would you not abandon the rest?  Our tip is to practice firm resolve. Just get what you are doing over and done with it. 

9. When it comes to saying “sorry, I can't…”  don’t say instead : “give me time, or I’ll try.. “ because chances are you will never be able to do it while you are still struggling to finish what you already have. It would only cause ill feelings.  Tom never got sidetracked to do little plumbing jobs for his clients although he had the capacity.  He would direct you to a plumber. Most people take on things they cannot handle because they are unable to say “no” then stress themselves trying to accommodate others. Our tip – keep the contact numbers of key people handy, learn to say no and delegate with a smile. 

10. Our best tip is to keep learning.  It’s smart to be an “aware” person. With some effort in learning,  jobs suddenly seems easier.  It’s never too early or too late to learn and an hour’s time invested in learning what aids your job or what is important in your market is an hour well spent, whether it is within your day’s schedule or after work. An additional bonus is that knowledge gives you a whole lot of confidence and self-satisfaction.

People who never seem to be able to get things done in spite of planned schedules are those who lack resolve, and lack of resolve is also a part of cowardice.  Not a tag we want, eh?

Created: April 26th, 2016


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