How Do You Manage The Hurdles?

With 4 young men (our youngest just turned 18) “presently” living at home, our household is in constant motion. People coming and going at all hours of the day and night: to/from school, work, dates and events.

Along with this comes frequent conversations about where each is on their life path, what issues or obstacles have materialized and how they are being addressed.

As a result we live in an environment offering rich and never-ending opportunities to provide coaching and mentoring ūüôā

An awesome experience, to say the least!

After¬†accumulating more fodder, I thought it time to launch a couple of¬†new posts. Here we go…

How Do You Manage the Hurdles?

Every person on this planet must deal with the day-to-day issues, tasks and activities of life. How effectively we deal with these has a dramatic impact on the quality of our life both now and in the future.

Let’s consider these day-to-day issues, tasks and activities as hurdles. These hurdles could include:

  • A chore that must be done
  • An errand that must be run
  • A call that must be made
  • A commitment that must be fulfilled
  • A task that must be completed
  • A question that must be answered
  • A problem that must be solved

As these hurdles come up it is important to CONSISTENTLY consider the approach to addressing each. This, versus letting them pile up, clogging our mind with all the things that we must remember to do.

At a high-level, there are several buckets we may consider:

  1. Hurdles to be leapt as soon as they come up
  2. Hurdles that can be bundled together to be leapt in a single bound
  3. Hurdles to be scheduled for a future date / time
  4. Hurdles that we must ramp-up to, before leaping
  5. Hurdles to be tossed aside

Let’s now cover each…

Hurdles to be leapt as soon as they come up

These can include:

  • Things that have the potential to dramatically impact our life/health/career/family (for good or bad) that must be addressed without delay and quite possibly until completion or resolution.
  • Things we committed¬†to, or explicitly own, for which others are dependent upon us and so long as the task remains incomplete we are holding them up or impacting their life.

Bottom-line: We must address these as quickly as possible!

Hurdles that can be bundled

There are certain tasks that make sense to bundle together for the sake of efficiency. That is, addressing them as discrete activities would result in spending more time or resources to complete. As such, consciously reviewing our to-do list to determine where we can maximize our time by bundling related tasks (e.g., based on subject matter) and activities (e.g., based on logistics) can significantly improve our productivity.

We just need to use care to manage our time and progress on the individual tasks in such a way that each is completed by its respective due date.

Hurdles to be scheduled for a future date/time

We’ve likely all heard the quote:

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

~ Benjamin Franklin

While that quote has a ton of merit, there is a corollary.

Don’t do today what you can¬†put off until tomorrow.

Said differently, just because a task or activity is on (or enters) our radar screen does NOT mean that it should be addressed today. First, we must fully address (at least as far as we can today) ALL those things that we MUST do today.

New tasks that arrive on our radar screen today, not requiring immediate attention, can be logged with a date at which time we want it to pop-up as a reminder for us to begin working on it.

Hurdles we must ramp-up to

All hurdles (that we’ve decided not to toss aside) have some form of due date and/or time (expected by others or set¬†by ourselves).

The due date/time is NOT, however, the date to begin work to ultimately leap the hurdle. Sometimes the work is multifaceted and must begin hours/days/weeks before the due date in order to ensure we complete it in the required timeframe.

As such, when we schedule a task for a future date we must carefully consider the amount of time we’ll need to invest on the task (over potentially multiple days or weeks) to ensure its timely completion.

The alternative is known as “cramming” which sometimes requires that we pull an “all-nighter.” While cramming may never go away completely, the above strategy will dramatically reduce the number¬†of times it is “required.” Because, if we are constantly cramming (and pulling all-nighters) we will eventually burn-out. Not a place we want to be.

Hurdles to be tossed aside

We must acknowledge¬†that we only have a limited amount of time each day. And, when we say “yes” to something, we are by default saying “no” to something else.

Just because a “potential” hurdle arrives in our path does not mean we need to leap¬†it. Some things come up which are mere distractions and have NO bearing on our, or someone else’s, life.

As such, we must constantly ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is this a task or activity that truly needs to be addressed – ever?
  • What is the benefit of this getting done?
  • Am I the right person to do it?

If we cannot satisfactorily answer these questions it is time to toss the hurdle or, if there is value, but not necessarily in our doing it, suggest that someone else take it on.

I have found that the amount of stress one has relates to the amount of times they¬†said “yes” to perform a specific task or activity, by a certain date, when they should have said “no” entirely, or negotiated a different due date.

In closing, constantly considering the nature and type of hurdles that come up in our life, and placing them in the appropriate bucket, will result in our being extremely effective people. Not doing so represents a significant limiting factor that WILL impact every aspect of our lives.

It is actually quite simple: just manage the hurdles! They are NOT created equal.

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