Monday, November 29th, 2010
Want a quick way to build a reserve of time? Under-promise and over-deliver! To under-promise is to give yourself twice the amount of time you think you will need to get something done. To over-deliver means to complete the project ahead of the promise date and turn it in early.
Let’s see how that would work in your professional life: Your boss comes to you and asks, “I want you to work on this project, when can you get it to me?” Your natural inclination is to over -promise right? So it is Thursday afternoon, and you think to yourself, “I can work on it all day tomorrow and over the weekend and deliver it by Monday.” You tell your boss that if you work hard on it, she will have it on her desk by Monday morning. Now you put aside your other work, come to the office over the weekend and still cannot get it done because you are missing some information from another department. Monday comes around and you tell your boss that there is some information missing and you cannot deliver the project until Monday evening. She is not amused and you feel like a failure. All because you over-promised.
Now try this: You think, “I can get it done by Monday” and you tell your boss, “I will have it ready by Wednesday afternoon.” You created an instant reserve of time! You can enjoy the weekend, exercise , have a great time with your family and fill yourself up with energy. Now you have your creative juices flowing and you get the report ready with no stress by Tuesday afternoon. You turned it in early and your boss is impressed and thinks you are great because you turned the report ahead of schedule. Congratulations – you just over-delivered! This simple tip can dramatically decrease your stress level and it also puts you in a great position for a raise or a bonus.
What if your boss requires you to get it done by Monday? While we often get specific deadlines most of them can be negotiated. Request the extra two or three days. If you have been consistently under-promising, you will have a reserve of time in all your other projects and you will actually have the time to crunch it out by Monday if you have to.
Under-promise works wonders in your personal life as well. If you are cooking dinner, instead of bragging ahead of time that you are making a gourmet meal, tell your family you are making something simple and surprise them with a fabulous meal. When asked by a friend if you can meet her at a certain time, make sure you have at least an extra half hour to spare in case you encounter bad traffic or an unexpected detour on your way. It’s a fantastic feeling when you keep people’s expectations low and surprise them. Everybody wins and you don’t have to spend your life apologizing.
Begin under-promising today and watch your time multiply!