Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Stay on Track

Don't allow yourself to get sidetracked. How many times have you ended a very busy day, only to realize you didn't really accomplish much or you didn't make the progress you had intended to make?

This happens in meetings, for example, when people get off the agenda. Because non-agenda items are basically surprises and nobody has had time to look at the facts, these typically degenerate into inane and pointless discussions that go nowhere.

We can see this same effect in many other types of activities.

Example 1.

You talk with someone, and the other person makes a remark that you know isn't true. So, you reply back with facts and sources. Let's say the other person's agenda isn't to learn, but to always be right. So, this person replies with a bunch of nonsense designed to baffle you with bull--. At this point, you can:

  • Continue to try to educate this person. But, is that your agenda? If so, why? Do you think this person needs to be educated by you on this particular topic? Why?
  • Fall into the game of arguing. But, is that your agenda? To what end?
  • Recognize that your agenda of having a meaningful, pleasant exchange with this person differs from that person's agenda of "always being right." You have already made you point, so why beat a dead horse? Doing so is a waste of time. Change the topic and move on.

Example 2.

You call the customer service department of a business. The person you are dealing with tells you something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, but our policy says...." Yet, the policy should not apply to this situation. There were extenuating circumstances. At this point, you can:

  • Argue with this person. This person has already used the company policy as justification for the decision. This person cannot change company policy. If your agenda is to vent your spleen, continue arguing. But what is the value in such an agenda?
  • Acknowledge that person can't do more for you. Ask to speak to someone on the next level.

Example 3.

You are dealing with a government agency. The person you are dealing with has taken a completely unreasonable stance. At this point, you can:

  • Contact your Congressman and ask for help. But your Congressman cares only about getting re-elected (that's how our system works). How can helping you further that agenda? If it can, you stand a chance. Otherwise, fuggedaboutit.
  • Acknowledge that person is simply a parasite. Ask to speak to someone on the next level. Note that the supervisor is going to take the side of the parasite, unless you present a compelling case to do otherwise. Unless your agenda is to waste everyone's time by reinforcing the parasite's position, ask the supervisor to help you resolve a disagreement. State which facts you and the parasite agree on, and note where the parasite was even remotely helpful. Pucker up, because these folks have a "kiss my a--" attitude and you have to play to that. Otherwise, you are wasting your time. "You can't fight City Hall," but you can make them sympathetic and helpful.



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.