Author of the book, “Procrastinate on Purpose”. How is it, that we have more tips and tricks, tools and technology, calendars and checklists than ever before, and yet, we still always seem to be behind? How is it that we work longer hours, we’re moving faster than we’ve ever moved in history, and yet we never seem to be caught up? How is it that we know more about time management today, and yet stress is at an all-time high?
The reason why is because everything you know about time management is wrong.
I first started to realize this a couple of years ago. It was early on a Saturday morning, I was at my business partner’s house, and I was picking him up for a very important international leader planning retreat, and he has a 2-year-old baby girl name Haven, and she is the sweetest little thing you can imagine. She has curly brown hair, and these sweet, soft, brown eyes, and we live in Nashville, so she has a little southern accent that’s developing and as I’m picking up Dustin, and we’re about to leave, Haven come sprinting down the hallway and she leaps, and she latches on to Dustin’s leg, And he looks down at her and he says: “Oh, I’m sorry baby Haven, Daddy actually has to go to work today.” And she looks up at him, and her eyes well up with tears, and she says: “No Daddy, please, no work today.
No work Daddy.” And in that moment, I realized two things: The first is that I myself am not ready to have kids just yet.
While most people only make decisions based on urgency, and importance, multipliers are making a third calculation which is based on significance, and if urgency is how soon does something matter, then significance is how long is it going to matter. It’s a completely different paradigm, it’s adding on to what is there, it’s in with the old, but it’s also in with the new. Because most of us, if you think about the modern day to-do list, which is one of the key strategies or tools that we have, we ask ourselves, when we assemble our to-do list, we say:
“What’s the most important thing I can do today?” But that is not how multipliers think; multipliers, instead ask the question: “What can I do today, that would make tomorrow better?”
“What can I do right now, that would make the future better?” They’re making the significance calculation. When I say: “Multiply your time,” that might sound a little bit superfluous.
I had been studying martial arts since I was 5. So they put me in this all-adult school, to be a little more advanced. Another gentleman who walked in, it was his first day, also. This guy was much older than me. He had long hair, and tattoos all up and down his arm, and a leather jacket, and he came in on a motorcycle, and this guy was about the scariest dude you can imagine, if you’re 7 years old, and he gets paired up as my sparring partner.
His name was Kevin. He turned out to be pretty nice. We advanced through the belt levels together, and so Kevin started bringing me home from class, every once in a while. Soon Kevin came over on the weekends, and we would practice our forms. Then we caught a movie, and then before long, Mom came with us to the movies. So it was the 3 of us going to movies together, and I’ll never forget the first time the 2 of them went to a movie without me.
If you think longer term, you realize they’ll be able to master the task, just like you were. Significance changes everything. It’s how you multiply your time. It’s giving yourself the permission of imperfect, for a little while. Because over time, they’ll be able to figure it out. If you can’t eliminate, automate, or delegate a task, that task drops out the bottom of the funnel, at that point, there’s only one question, and that question is: Should I do this task now?
Must it be done now, or can it wait until later? If the task must be done now, then that’s what we call “concentrate”. It’s the permission to protect. Alright, the permission to protect. It’s all about focus, and eliminating distractions. And honestly, there’s nothing all that exciting, or new there. However, if you ask the question: “Can this wait until later?”, and you decide that the answer is yes, then that’s not eliminate, automate or delegate, that is what we call “procrastinate on purpose”.
Now, you’re not going to procrastinate on it forever, you’re going to pop that activity back to the top of the funnel, at which point, it will enter into a holding pattern where it will cycle through the focus funnel, until inevitably, one day, eventually one of the other 4 strategies will be executed on whenever that task is.
And what you find, is that if something can continually wait, often what happens is you develop the courage to do what you should have done in the first place, which was eliminate it.
Or you discover a system for how to automate it. Or someone rises up to the call of leadership. They rise up to the occasion, and it ends up being delegated. Or it ends up becoming something that is significant enough for you to spend your time on. A lot people say: “Well Rory, wait a minute, in the
“Take the stairs” book you said: ‘Procrastination is the killer of all success.’
‘Procrastination is the most expensive, invisible cost in business.’ ‘Procrastination is the foundation of all mediocrity.’ and now you’re telling us to procrastinate on purpose?”
And yes, that is what I said, and it’s exactly true how I said it.
But there’s a major distinction to realize and that is there’s a difference in waiting to do something that we know we should be doing that we don’t feel like doing, versus waiting to do something because we’re deciding that now is not the right time. Waiting to do something we know we should do, but don’t feel like doing, that’s procrastination, the killer of success.
“Be fruitful, and multiply.” Thank you very much.
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