Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Staging Tip #2

In Part 1, we gave you a glimpse into "staging." This is another look at the topic.

The standard approach to a task is to jump right into it. A much better approach is to break the task down into its component steps and then determine what you need so you can accomplish each step. In fact, this approach is at the core of the formal project management system espoused by the Project Management Institute.

Here's an example. We sell language translation devices. There are two types of customers who buy these:

  1. Impatient time wasters.
  2. Methodical people.

The impatient time wasters are the folks who jump right in, and then spend hours playing with the devices. They send e-mails or make phone calls claiming the devices are defective, this button doesn't work, that feature is disabled, and so on. Their questions and concerns are pre-answered in the manual, which they either read very poorly or don't read at all. After spending several  hours a day for several days, they still can't use the device.

The methodical people are the folks who understand how to use a Table of Contents. They quickly see there are discrete steps--select the interface language (e.g., English), select the dictionary (e.g., English ->Thai), enter the text, translate the text, push the talk button. They use the manual to see how to do these steps, noticing that the manual has an example for each step. They have no questions or concerns, because they understand the component steps and used the manual to see how to do each one.After spending only half an hour, they are comfortably using the device.

The difference in cost vs. results ratios is astounding. You would think that everyone would know, by the age of 8, which approach works. But that isn't so. Many people will point to others and say, "Well, they just have a knack for that sort of thing." This is miscasting the situation. The reason for the difference is the successful person broke the job down into steps and determined what it took to accomplish each step. Having a knack or not having a knack had nothing to do with it.

Perhaps the classic example of all time is the computer. Today's desktop computer is extremely easy to use. Yet, many people remain mystified even after years of using one. They fail to see it's pretty much a glorified electronic filing cabinet.

They fail to break things down and identify what's needed. Consequently, they waste enormous amounts of time doing tasks inefficiently and they waste even more time pestering their methodical friends for "computer help."

But "computer help" is not what they need. In my own case, I have found that 99.999% of people asking me "how to" with a computer already have the answer. They are wasting their time and mine by asking for the wrong kind of help.

Stage every job you tackle, and you'll find yourself with far more time for accomplishing things.


Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.