Over Committing can lead to poor performance

Bill Christopher

Whether in your personal or business life, it is important to understand your capacity and your ability to deliver on promises made. If you regularly over commit and under deliver you will lose credibility and trust from the people you care about; family, friends, business associates, and community. It can also create physical and mental stress as you strive to live up to all the commitments you are making. One of the quickest ways to put yourself out of business is to over commit and create a quality and delivery issue. Customers are fickle and one bad instance of service will cause you to lose their business and possibly more should they be very active on social media.

You need to look at the use of your time as an investment. To successfully manage that investment, you must first come to grips that time is a finite resource. You currently have all the time you are ever going to get – 24 hours in a day. You cannot buy more time, create more time, or get more hours out of a day. If at the end of your day you feel bad about what you were able to accomplish you may well have a commitment issue. You could also have a time management issue but that is for another article.

The single most important factor in feeling like the use of your time is a success or a failure is whether or not your expectations of what you will accomplish align with how much time you have to invest. In order to meet this objective, you will likely need to take a counter intuitive step – slow down. Take some of your valuable time to think through what is important to you personally or to your business.

Take the time to think about what you really, truly care the most about, then invest your time in what you care about. This seems like simple advice, yet few people do it. Most of us wing our way through each day, not thinking about if how we are spending our time is going to produce meaningful results. You should volunteer and get involved in the community but be sure the hours you are spending are on things that provide meaning to you. Do not engage just because someone made you feel guilty.

Consider doing less. When you do fewer things, you spread your time over less, and so you have much more of yourself to give to everything you do. This does not mean stop all your volunteer work or to reduce the size of your business, just be sure the things you commit to do you have the capacity to do well.

There is a simple task that may help you start the process of evaluating your capacity: create a chart of how you use your time each week. I believe this exercise may well surprise many of you. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, start by subtracting time for sleeping, eating, personal grooming, exercise, etc. Then remove any time needed for getting to and from work, grocery store, church, school, etc. Then start to subtract time for work, shopping, family, etc. Then add up time for all other commitments. This will give you a better understanding of your capacity and help you make commitments you can meet.

Life is short, focus on what you care about, do not over commit, reduce stress and increase your enjoyment of life.

Editor’s note: Mr. Christopher is the President and CEO of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. His column appears on the first Wednesday of every month in this publication.

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