Lose the Wait
I don’t know whose research it was, but I believe there have been studies done to quantify how much time, through our entire lives, we spend waiting. Waiting for the bus, waiting in line at a store, waiting for the coffee to brew…so many of our everyday activities involve waiting in some form or fashion. And although I am not sure of the specific number of hours, I would bet this number doubles for a small business owner.
Lucky for me, I’m a patient man.
When it comes to our business, I often feel if something is not immediately progressing in leaps and bounds in front of my face, that I must passively wait. I love immediate results. But growing a business does not always work that way. Often what we put into motion typically will not have results until much further in the future. This lack of obvious results can lead to discouragement, or even worse idleness.
I think that my main problem of waiting within our business is the false sense of security that it offers. As I am going through task lists and monitoring the current status of projects, a “pending” issue means that I am awaiting a response from someone else. This is when I assume that there is nothing more I can do to advance this particular issue. But even so, I don’t leave it alone. I wait. I wait for it to call me on the phone, send me an email, tell me how awesome I am. I think about it, I worry about it, I lose sleep over it. I basically stop what I’m doing with everything else on my plate, and I wait it out. Even though it’s a waste of my time to do so.
But I am learning as the owner of a business, when you stop making progress, the entire operation’s progress stops. There is only one answer to this problem — I have to lose the wait. I have to beat the waiting game before it beats me. Instead of patiently waiting for someone to get back to me, I’m figuring out how to move on to a different item while waiting for another. This doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten about my pending issue, it just means that I’ve put it on the shelf until it needs my attention again.
So with this wait loss, I am using my time more wisely. I am working to reduce my number of clicks on “Get Mail” for the highly anticipated answers, and instead, focusing my attention toward the other infinite tasks, changes, projects, and tweaks that shape up our business.
How do you handle the tension between patiently waiting and actively progressing?
Do you have any tips on how to “Lose the Wait”?