I won’t lie to you I’m impatient. I want it now. I get frustrated if I have to wait for things to happen. I get annoyed when people don’t answer my questions straight away. I get angry when the children don’t move as quickly as I would like them to. Not a nice personality trait I know but I’m working on it. Yoga and meditation help me to stay calm. It doesn’t eliminate the urge to explode but it does help me to recognize my emotions and manage them.
I am also a high achiever. When I achieve something I rarely dwell too long on that achievement, I seek out the next challenge. One thing I am not is a perfectionist. I am too impatient for that. Get it done to the best of my ability and move on. Now that I have shared with you all my bad personality traits let me tell you why impatience can hinder productivity and how I have overcome my naturally tendencies.
You may think that being impatient makes you do things more quickly which should be productivity enhancing but being impatient can cause you to do some of the following:
Do the wrong thing
Being impatient and wanting everything to happen now sometimes causes me to do work that doesn’t need to be done. By not thinking things through I start head first into a project and end up doing more work than was required. Reading instructions before getting started is a chore. Only this year I realized that when cooking from a recipe book you need to read the whole recipe before you get started. (BAH – what a time waster!)
The Solution: I use mind maps to plan projects. Because I’m always itching to get started the mind map is a quick way to plan and think creatively about the project you are about to undertake
Lack of Completion
Another one of my sins is not to finish a job completely. I may finish the job but I may not clean up after myself. Talk the example of cooking again, while I’m cooking I am thinking about all the things I want to be doing or still have to do. So I finish the food and run from the kitchen, rather than complete the job calmly and clean as I go.
The Solution: I try to be present; I bring my focus back to the current moment and remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. I play music. Cooking has never been my favorite pastime but playing music has been a powerful way to make the task more enjoyable.
Recently I found a workbook I had filled in a couple of years back. One of the questions was, if you could do one thing now that will help your life get to world class what would it be? My answer was to get organized. Up until then I was never patient enough to get organized. It would take too long, I would get bored. Some people describe their lives as organized chaos, mine wasn’t, mine was disorganized chaos. After being introduced to GTD it moved into the disorganized zone and then slowly but surely with persistence and commitment it moved towards organized. It’s not my natural way. Catch me on a Friday when I’ve spent the week working outside the house and the word Chaos wouldn’t come close to describing my house and my state of mind but the difference is now I have a system so that within hours I can get myself into an organized state allowing me to focus freely on what has to be done next.
The Solution: Get a system, I understand a lot of people shy about from GTD they find it rigid and complicated but I still believe it’s worth putting the effort in to learn it. There is a great series on how to get started with GTD over at Lifehack.org. Having a system to fall back on means your life can get back on track quickly and painlessly. Without GTD I would have drowned in my own clutter and I think it would have taken some time for anyone to find me! Teaching people the GTD System has been one of the nicest parts of my job. It’s powerful to see people’s emotional states when they realize there is a way out of the bedlam they are experiencing.
So if you are like me and find impatience stands in the way of an calm and organized life, use these three tips and see how your life will slowly change for the positive. Being in control is a powerful catalyst for great things to come.
Photo credit: Patience by Afaal