Time Management Training

In our day-to-day workplace, as in life, we often find ourselves dealing with unresolved issues, confusion and decisions we must make. For most of us, our initial instinct in such situations is to take immediate action in an attempt to resolve the issue. To simply put it behind us, move on and check it off our list. This can, and often does, lead to frustration, stagnating productivity and less than optimal results.

Although you may feel the urgency to do something — anything! — it might not be in your best interest if the timing isn’t right. Sometimes it’s better to just wait; to ‘put it on the back burner’ for the moment and contemplate our options, rather than to take action impulsively.

Of course, waiting can be difficult, particularly for an action-oriented leader or entrepreneur accustomed to moving ahead. We must deal with the sense of urgency and the panic that can come with waiting. Setting goals and priorities can help alleviate the frustration while you’re waiting. Keeping your time management skills sharp by working on mindfulness, managing interruptions, prioritization and goal setting can help keep us on course. 

I’m reminded of learning to surf. If you try to catch every wave, you get very tired paddling in and out of position, and before long, you’re too worn out when a good wave finally does comes in. Timing is the hardest part of surfing. You need to be aware, calm, and at peace with yourself and the ocean while waiting out there in the swells. 

This sense of timing applies in both our personal lives and in business. It’s critical to know when to sit still … when to make decisions … and when to strike. Being mindful of acting at the right time can lead to properly targeted decisive action and more empowerment.

In contrast, sometimes the best thing to do is to move ahead immediately and not miss our window of opportunity. Do you need to pull the trigger and strike? As I often say, you can’t steer if you’re not moving. You must ask yourself; are you feeling synergy, seeing a synchronicity of events and receiving repeated signals to get something under way?  

As challenging as it can be at times, paying attention and acting at the right time can help you get yourself where you want to be. If you stay focused on your timing, are patient and maintain awareness, you’re likely to be ready to act and produce results that are better in the end, helping you catch a good wave and ride it all the way to success.

John Males is Founder and President of Fathom Corporate Training. With more than 20 years of experience in management, sales and negotiations, he helps clients increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover, increase revenue and raise profit margins.