Okay, I know I’m mixing metaphors again, but if there’s anything I remember from my flying days it’s the concept of situational awareness. Don’t fixate on any one thing for a long period of time. Keep up your scan—which in an airplane means checking on all of your instruments at an appropriate interval. In a printshop, it means checking on all of your human resources (read that: employees) at appropriate intervals. And here’s the key, don’t ask them if they have any problems; ask them if they see any problems developing!
I hope you see the difference. Learning about a full blown problem puts you right into reactive mode. Learning about a problem in its early stages of development puts you in a much more proactive situation. Nipping a problem in the bud is usually easier—and less painful—than letting it grow to that full-blown state. And staying ahead of the printshop gives you more time to deal with all of your important issues, minimizing the chances that you’ll have to leave any messes for your Tomorrow Person to clean up.
Again, it comes down to prioritization, but please consider this. If you go through a day without good situational awareness, you might find yourself at the end of the day with more issues than you have time to deal with today. If you stay ahead of your day, you can make better time management decisions along the way. For example, not spending that hour doing something that turns out to be a lot less important than the thing you only find out about at the end of the day! I often ask myself: “If I had this to do over again, would I have done it any differently?” In terms of your time management decisions, you want the answer to be no!
Here’s my final thought for today. You can probably categorize many of the things you spend your day on as fun or not fun. The more fun you have while doing your job, the more likely it is that you’ll have those good spirits that Royce talked to Maven about. In my experience, doing today’s work and working toward tomorrow is a lot more fun than doing yesterday’s work and not benefitting either your Tomorrow Person or your Tomorrow Company. That’s the classic dilemma—too much time spent working in the business as opposed to on the business.
Anyway, I found Hogan/Royce’s Tomorrow Man theory to be an interesting way of looking at time management and prioritization, and I hope you will too.
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC; a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 800-325-9634, by fax at 919-363-4069, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com. See the ad for Dave’s products and services in this issue.