Time is expensive and thus using too much is very unattractive
by Thomas Leonard; Written in 1997
Eliminate the high cost of delay
I’m a big believer in the notion that consumers are eradicating every single source of waste or inefficiency in business. Everything from the high cost of telephone service (aka Web Telephone) to even segments of entire professions such as car salesmen and even Realtors to an extent. If it’s a middleman/woman, they’re GONE unless they are adding a lot of value throughout their day instead of ‘wasting time’ hustling prospects. One of the cool things about the Attraction OS is that attracting business, results, people, stuff TO you is just about the most efficient process of all (at least as compared to hustling, searching, selling, acquiring, seeking, etc.). So, the Attraction OS should have a long shelf life because it IS so efficient and it helps others to be much more efficient in whatever profession they are in.
So, delay, which is the focus of this Attraction principle, is simply one of many unnecessary expenses that is being inexorably eliminated by consumers, by people and by companies. But it’s one that you can really do something with on a practical basis. The reason I shared my comments above about the underlying trend of the elimination of wasteful/inefficient practices, professions, institutions or services, is so you can see the connection between the Attraction OS and real-life trends.
How this principle is sometimes misunderstood:
- You don’t need to rush in your quest to eliminate delay.
Adrenaline or rushing isn’t the best way to eliminate delay. The idea is to eliminate the blocks to natural high-performance and to have enough of a reserve so that you can over respond immediately to all that occurs during your day.
- Trying to get more done is not the point.
The point is to eliminate delay, not work faster. See the difference? If you’re trying to work faster, then you’re probably behind. Find out why you operate ‘behind’ and fix THAT problem as a way to eliminate delay. Don’t become a hamster on a wheel. That’s not the point here.
- Blocking out ‘more time’ isn’t the answer either.
Sure, it’s nice to build in a cushion during your day in case tasks take longer, new opportunities arise or problems crop up. But the idea of eliminating delay is not to spend (or have) more time on something, but rather to respond immediately. So, it’s more than just having more time; it’s about having a reserve in many areas so that you can become FLEXIBLE, not just quick. Big difference, but a subtle distinction.
Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Delay
- Refuse to wait for things; become demanding.
I only deal with vendors or people who will respond immediately to what I want. I only deal with firms that have a website and online ordering. And only with firms that offer FedEx overnight delivery. And only with people who respond promptly to email. I’m not obsessive or hyper about it; I just know that delay of any kind is wasteful or at least expensive to me; it slows down my creative process and I’m not willing to tolerate it. I don’t get upset if something doesn’t arrive when it should; I simply will work with someone else next time. And, believe me, there are PLENTY of folks who value immediate responses as I do. So, choose which group you wish to join — the Immediate Club or the Delay Club. It matters.
- Become the type of person who responds to others’ requests immediately.
I guess we all get too busy to be on top of things all of the time, so this may be something to progress toward instead of instantly adopt. But one thing that I’ve found is that when you respond immediately to inquires or questions from customers or prospective customers, trust is greatly expanded without you having to do anything else. People fear delay and are reassured by immediate responses. That alone will make you a lot more attractive to yourself and to others. I’m not saying that delay is always out of integrity, but it often is. You may need to set up your life to have almost no inventory or consuming projects; keep the bandwidth wide enough to handle all that comes at you.
- Maintain no inventory of to-do’s.
Wouldn’t this be terrific? I’m going in this direction, but like most of us, have a ways to go. But the point warrants making. While there’s nothing wrong with to-do’s, there is still an inherent delay, isn’t there? I’m not sure what the solution is, but it has something to do with installing systems to handle the projects/needs as they come in, instead of you personally having to maintain to-do lists. To-do lists are about the past and the future, NOT about the present, right? So, they are unattractive if you believe that attraction occurs primarily in the present. Interesting, yes?
- Learn quickly: integrate changes immediately and respond accordingly.
How quickly do you both ‘get’ stuff and implement the changes called for as a result of what you got? For most of us there is a definite delay or lag which runs from a day or so to a lifetime. New information, truths, or new ways of doing things has to filter into our heads and through our systems and often get either diluted or lost before we can benefit from them. ‘Changing on a dime’ is one way to describe the preferred mode, and the place to start is to understand how long your delay/integration process takes. And then seek to shorten it by 90%. True, you’ll make some mistakes by responding too quickly to false signals, but better to master the signals in your body and in life than to play it safe and miss out on the real opportunities that life presents. You know you’re a rapid learner if you substantially change your thinking or behavior before you truly understand what you’re learning.
- Reduce your ‘personal processing time’ by eliminating delays caused by fear.
We talk a lot about how having a reserve is the best way to reduce fear. Reserves work because they reduce the perceived or actual consequences of threat/risk. And it’s risk/threat which causes fear. Rather than trying to learn or process much more quickly (although that’s nice if you can do it!), simply build reserves, and you’ll find yourself learning faster because fear isn’t slowing down the learning/evolving process. This is a key point.
- Sensitize yourself so that you can respond even before a delay is possible.
As you reduce tolerations, you become less numb and increasingly more sensitive. (FYI, tolerations numb us.) And, as you build a reserve, you can AFFORD to feel more than you’re currently feeling, plus you’ll have the bandwidth to feel more as well. The objective here is to be able to feel/sense/hear/see future events or opportunities before others can. You hear a lot about being proactive and to anticipate changes. That’s not bad, but the idea of sensitizing yourself so that you can respond even before a delay is possible is much more advanced than merely being proactive. In other words, if you really got how costly delays are you to, you’d quickly make the changes to eliminate them, and respond THIS early to events. It’s more than just avoiding delays; it’s about being a scout and sensing what’s around the next bend and making immediate changes to take advantage of it. So, you’re over responding before the competition has even noticed the bend itself.
- Develop a filtering system to screen what comes at you.
Should you respond to everything that comes to you? Could you do this realistically? Probably not. Yet the goal here in this principle is to eliminate the cost of delay. One of the ways to do that is to filter what comes at you, so that you DO have time to respond immediately to the stuff that really matters. I generally filter stuff out by having only a few key and mutually supportive friendships and relationships; less is plenty! If you’re managing/supporting a lot of relationships, that consumes bandwidth. Another way to filter is to let your virtual assistant handle your incoming email or even U.S. mail. Just instruct your VA on what matters to you, yet give him/her freedom to include stuff that THEY feel might interest you. Another way to filter is to know what your vision is. When you’re clear on this and clear on your personal values, it will automatically filter stuff for you — perhaps because you’ll be attracting the stuff and people who have a similar interest in your vision. Joy is an excellent filter as well — if it’s not going to bring you joy, it doesn’t make it past the filter.
Now, you may be wondering if the above filters are too narrow, meaning that you might miss some really cool stuff or isolate yourself from radical ideas. What I do is to subscribe to Wired Magazine; that alone keeps the pipeline for radical ideas pretty full, so I don’t get stale or limited by the thinking of my closest associates.
- Automate your responses so you don’t have to be there.
We’ve covered this a bit in #7 when I mentioned having a Virtual Assistant. The place to come from with this one is to step in the shoes of all of the people who may contact you via phone, email, fax or US mail, and develop a system to provide folks with an immediate confirmation that you received their request and when you’ll get back to them. Again, the absence of delay is as much about delivering what folks are asking for as it is about confirming that you got their request and when you’ll be responding personally if that’s warranted. On the email front, auto responders are the way to go. I changed my email address to be an auto responder which directs folks to places they can get most of what they want. You can also set up a fax on demand system or voice-info on demand so that callers get most of what they need without you having to call them back. The solutions will be different for you than for me, but the idea is to eliminate the delay between the time a person contacts you for anything in any way, and the time they at least receive a confirmation, if not the solution itself. The idea is to take yourself out of the response loop; it’s another way of filtering what comes at you. One of the interesting ways I used to handle inquires regarding the Coach Training Program at Coach University was to steer callers/e-mailers requesting info on Coach U to both the website, fax back and auto responders. But I went a step further and that was to let them know when the next Coaching Q&A free TeleClass was scheduled and how to register automatically for that. That way, I could spend my time more efficiently with those who had ENOUGH interest to show up on a free Tele-Session. It saved HOURS, yet gave folks personal attention from me, as the founder. It worked.
- Always be increasing your bandwidth and CPU way before you need to.
If you’re successful or plan to be, it only makes sense that the demands on your time and CPU will increase. The only responsible way to handle this, given it’s bound to happen, is to consciously scale up your support system and personal capacities in order to handle the load. Most of us scramble to keep up with the load instead of always operating at a 50% reserve factor. Don’t be an AOL, where you’re scrambling to keep up with demand; this puts you behind the curve. Be responsible.
- When you find yourself delaying, find out why.
Learning slowly or deferring decisions or playing ‘wait and see’ can sometimes be the very best approach! However, when you do find yourself putting things off or delaying in any manner, at least ask yourself why. There’s is ALWAYS a reason and it’s worth knowing why, even if you choose to do nothing about it.
Copyright 1997 by Thomas Leonard and 2006 by CoachVille LLC.
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