You have heard the phrase that time is money. This phrase is even more important in our society today since things move faster than ever. Organizations are very demanding about deadlines. They need you to respond quickly. They want employees who are action oriented.
Think about these questions:
- Do you generally put off assignments until the last minute?
- Do you dither about decisions even every trivial ones?
- Do you constantly put off making decisions by asking for more and more information?
- Do you often get distracted from what you are doing and, as a result, tasks take longer than they should?
- Do you have a hard time saying that a task is done because you always think of something more needs to be done?
Most of us would say yes to one or more of the above questions. When you go to work, a strong yes response to any of these questions can lead to a serious career problem. How do you start now to become more action oriented? Outlined below are some suggestions.
- Set firm dates for assignments and monitor how you perform to your deadlines. The section on Developing Discipline to Do Well offers a number of tips for how to become action oriented for assignments.
- Stop second guessing yourself on decisions. That’s why most people dither about decisions. The best way to avoid second guessing is to visualize a decision tree in your mind. Think of each decision choice as a limb on a tree and possible consequences as branches off that limb. You will probably discover that the worst consequences for any decision choice aren’t that severe. Once you’ve done this quick visualization, pick the limb that seems best. Once you made the decision, don’t practice what is called post decision regret.
- Think of everything you are doing as something that has a price associated with it. Imagine someone paying you $200/hour to do what you are doing. (That’s not an unreasonable figure) Then when you are attempted to do something more, ask yourself, “would this be worth $200/hour to someone?” This mindset is one that most people need to make every day.
- Find someone who you are very close to. Ask this person to be your action coach. The coach’s role is to point out situations where you are not being action oriented.
Becoming more action oriented is one of those skills that can be improved with attention and effort. Like most developmental needs, the first step is acceptance of the need..