Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good, Pleasing and Perfect: Time Management

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the various ways I spend my time. Or to be more precise, I’m wondering what has happened to make the last two weeks fly by in a blur! With numerous ways to grow a business, and tons of options to pursue, the choices seem limitless. And yet with every choice I make, my finite allotment of time is affected.

The adjective structure good, pleasing, and perfect has been rattling around in my head, demanding attention. There are good things that I can choose to become involved with, but they also may consume bits of my time that should be reserved for different opportunities. I may want to take on a project that looks like fun (pleasing), but if it has little long-term value, I again may be allocating my time towards a venture that is stealing resources away from my long-term goals. And it has occurred to me (more than once!) that if my time is consumed with good and pleasing activities, I may not recognize nor have time for the perfect opportunities that do come along!

I also think that sometimes we’re presented with opportunities that can have attributes of all three of these categories at the same time! Hang with me for a minute while I explain. I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the past few weeks dealing with one high-maintenance client. While I’ve been frustrated by my client’s “speaking to think” methodology to put simple projects together, I have realized that I have allowed him to think that wasting my time is acceptable. Working with him is a good opportunity, and when I can nail down specifics, it is fun for me to create the products he’s ordering. However, this account has the potential to reach the perfect category—and yet it hasn’t! As I have pondered this scenario, it has become apparent to me that I have a few things that I need to take responsibility for. I’ve realized that I need to set some clear boundaries with this customer, and when simple advice crosses over into the land of consulting, I need to be clear about that and start billing him accordingly. I have a few policies and procedures to think through and then communicate to my clients, so that all of us have a better idea about what to expect from each other.

Good, pleasing and perfect are categories that are helping me balance my time in Everyday Economy. How about you?