Begin to observe more closely and plan a response

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I need a rule, because it's often hard to know if something's a big enough deal to address until it's too late and then, well, it's too late.
It's already gotten out of hand.
On the flip side, if I jump on every single issue the first time it comes up,


What should you do with someone you think is angry at you?If they say they’re not angry, then act as if they’re telling the truth.Respond generously to anything they do.Pretend you believe they meant well.An unresponsive customer?If they say they want to meet with you but they’re just busy, then choose to believe them.Will you be living in a fantasy world?But you might already be living in one.Why not choose the fantasy that works for you instead of against you?The mind is so hard to control that sometimes, when it runs off in rampant fear or anger or frustration, you shouldn’t try.As the hornet stings turned into red blotches and welts, I wasn’t controlling my fear that I was going into shock.The harder I tried, the worse I made it.Instead of focusing on the possibility that I might be allergic, I reminded myself that I had been stung before with only a mild reaction.Sure, my mind responded, but you’ve never been stung this many times at once.I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, and decided there was no difference.And then, knowing it’s impossible to not think about something, I distracted myself by talking to Eleanor about a dinner we were planning for that night.Crazy as this sounds, I simply acted as if there were no danger from the stings.But by the time we arrived, my mind had relaxed, my breathing had improved, the lump in my throat was gone, and the adrenaline had receded.It was almost as if I had not been stung at all.Your mind can help you move forward or can get in the way.Choose the fantasy world that supports you.Where We AreThe sooner we get started in making valuable use of our time, the more fully we’ll live our lives.And, as we’ve seen, getting started doesn’t have to be hard.We can design our environment so it naturally impels us toward our goals.Once we realize that it only takes a second to get going, we can simply will ourselves through procrastination.Or we can make the task so fun that we won’t feel hesitant at all.If that doesn’t work, then a little fear, a good story, or the productive use of our imagination can all help.Mastering Your BoundariesSo you’ve gotten started on your worthwhile, important work.And now you’re working on it.You’re already much further along than most people.You’re headed in the right direction.But don’t relax yet.Seductive sirens who want to tempt you away from your effort.They’re not malicious, but they need your attention.And, sometimes, you need to give it to them.At other times, though, they’re simply a distraction you can’t afford.How can you tell the difference?When should you say yes to someone?When and how should you say no?When should you confront someone?What are some things you can do to help others use your time wisely?What are the right boundaries to set?The Time Suck of CollaborationSaying Yes AppropriatelyNate started working for a large consulting firm after many years as an independent consultant.He called me for some advice shortly after joining the firm.I’m wasting a tremendous amount of time, he complained to me.I’m in meetings all day.Working with people takes time.And different people have different priorities.So someone may need your perspective on an issue that’s important to him but not to you.Still, if he’s a colleague, it’s important to help.And often, we want to help.On the other hand, we’ve all felt Nate’s pain.How can we spend time where we add the most value and let go of the rest?We need a way to quickly and confidently identify and reduce our extraneous commitments, to know for sure whether we should deal with something or avoid it, and to manage our own desire to be available always.I propose a little test that every commitment should pass before you agree to it.Am I the right person?Is this the right time?Do I have enough information?Ideally, it’s best not to be interrupted.But sometimes an interruption will be important and appropriate.For example, what if your boss is the person who interrupts you?These three questions offer a clear, easy, and

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