Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A place for everything.

If my father said it to me once, he said it a hundred times ," A place for everything and everything in its place!" Since I am now old and haven't much to do,I am able, finally, to follow his advice. In fact, I am now able to deliver the same message to others without a scintilla of shame. "Too soon old, too late smart. " as some crusty sage said. When I was young and busy I never finished a job fully, since the subsequent demands seemed more imperative.I thought I was doing everyone a favor. Things and objects got left behind or lost and the efficency of my work suffered accordingly. No one was getting a favor! The very tool you needed, the essential report that needed finishing, disappeared into the woodwork. Once you found it you didn't need it. The ability to lay your hand on any object, at any time, gives a head start that is invaluable. It can only be done if you avoid fragmentation, learn to say no, and value your time and output. We can only do so much well, and that requires focus. Work habits are as important as knowledge. They go hand in hand. That means work smart. That means " be prepared ". Lord Baden-Powell told us that. Prioritization and finishing the job, at all cost, will give great success. I have seen executives with a desk top full of papers that look like hurricane Katrina has gone by and they seem pleased to display how impressively busy they appear. I know how busy they must be just sorting out what they should have already done. I have seen many an Emergency Room Physician so burdened with competing demands that they become fragmented and make mistakes. In that situation the answer is to slow down, not speed up, triage and keep your cool. Don't let yourself be pushed where you don't want to go. You will end up being the fall guy and no one will thank you.My dad was a railway telegrapher and there were no train crashes on his watch, in his lifetime!

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