No ones likes the last minute rushing and headaches that comes with an urgent project. Seth Godin has an intriguing post Managing Urgencies. He concludes, “a career putting out fires never leads to the goal you had in mind all along”. This is exactly the reason to “Think” before you do. Here are three ways to avoid fire drills.
Focus on quality
1. Think in advance– Think about the right way to do it before you start any project.
2. Double check– Double check all your work before it goes out.
3. Audit– have an audit procedure to make sure you did it right.
Reign in expectations
1. Don’t over promise– Don’t commit the world if it’s not required. Know what you’re capable of. See what you have the time for and do your best.
2. Educate your customer– Let your customer, boss, spouse know how long tasks typically take so they can set their own proper expectations.
Control your time
1. Don’t overschedule– If you have too much going on you risk getting into a time crunch and startign a fire.
2. Don’t let others schedule for you– Don’t let others automatically schedule you. Sometimes it’s something they can do themselves- teach them how.
Make it your goal not to get in fire drills and you’ll be less stressed and more productive.