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…if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. – William S. Burroughs

William-S-BurroughsFor this week’s quote we can thank American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer William S. Burroughs. This quote is a timely reminder for me that when trying to solve a problem, the right framing is nearly everything.

…So when faced with most work related items, my default place is to press for a quick resolution: I respond to emails within minutes of receiving them at all hours of the day (even if I am working on something else), provide same day feedback on items with undefined response requirements, schedule meetings to address projects weeks before I need to, often make notes to follow up with people within hours of the time I initially reach out, and when doing something like, say, filling a job… I will often take an approach to filling wherein I schedule 8+ interviews in a day simply because, well, if I know I have 8 viable candidates why drag things out?

…I *hate* leaving things undone. If I can do something now I never want to leave it for later.

^Unfortunately, this approach sometimes causes me to overwork myself… and yet still under deliver on my self-targeted goals because I have wildly unrealistic expectations around what I can get done (and what others can get back to me on) in an hour/day/week/month/whatever.

Lately, however, I am discovering that my need to complete things ASAP is not necessarily the same thing as being optimally productive. Because when something really needs to get done people have a way of consolidating their efforts to complete it without being hassled. And, furthermore (and perhaps more importantly), I’m finding that when I take the breaks off working to urgently close an item or solve a problem that it often resolves itself (or – better still – I come up with a better approach than I would have if I’d just kept at it).

Ergo, as we get started this week let’s remember to slow down. Because – while a sense of urgency can be good – treating every little thing as an all-stops-emergency is an easy way to fruitlessly spin your wheels and burn yourself out.

…If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. >_>

Happy Monday,