Ep 61: Time Dilemma-everything takes too long
Camille Rapacz: When was the last time that you got something done in precisely the amount of time that you had planned for?
George Drapeau: Wow. Wow. That's an awesome and depressing question. Yesterday's run. That's an easy one. I mean, that's different than When I decided I was going to go running, I left a little bit later than I thought, but thought of the end to end time to get ready, do the run, run down, all that stuff.
Maybe this is going to be good for this episode. Everything was really well constrained. There's the only way it would have lasted longer is if I had felt like extending the run, which I did not feel like yesterday. Other than that, it's been a while. I usually don't complete things in the time that I want almost never.
Almost never it happens, but not commonly. Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: Wow. Wow. Does it bother you that it's like that? Or have you just, are you at peace with it now?
George Drapeau: Oh man, oh man, I'm loving these questions.
Camille: / Welcome to The Belief Shift. The show that explores. What you really need to know about building a successful business.
I'm your host, Camille Rapacz: business coach and consultant who spent too much of her career working in corporate business performance.
George: And I'm George Drapeau: your co-host and her brother. I'm a leader in the tech world bringing my corporate perspective, but mostly my curiosity.
Camille: Together, we're exploring beliefs about success and how to achieve it. But mostly we're bringing practical solutions so you and your business can thrive. /
George Drapeau: It used to bother me a lot. I didn't really have, like, I had really no reflection about it, no awareness. I would just realize, man, I had all these plans. My to do list, my task list for any period of time. Today, the week, the month. Not getting nearly enough of these things done. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and reconciling with it. I'm knowing myself better I guess I'm at peace with it.
I also I know that I'm never going to get as much done as I hope I would get done. And that doesn't stop me from making my lists, but I think about them differently.
The main thing that helped me realize my problem here and how to deal with it better was my friend Ellen Isaacs, who is highly rational, extremely productive, great planner.
And when we met at Sun, she pointed out to all of us that, you know, like, Engineers always underestimate everything. We all underestimate what we do. She was very realistic about planning. And she, I mean, she would practically laugh at us when we would get into a group and try to plan things out.
So, I mean, I've had somebody in my life who's been my kind of time management buddy or, or plan realistically buddy for over 25 years. And it's taken me 25 years to slowly get clearer and clearer and clearer about this.
Camille Rapacz: You are lucky. You've had that doctor reality check. Yeah. And so, yeah. So if you don't have that person, you kind of have to create your alter ego of that person, I think, because otherwise we're all making ourselves crazy.
George Drapeau: Same question back at you. When's the last time you got something done in the time that you planned?
Camille Rapacz: The last time I got something done in the time that I had planned is when I have literally time blocked myself with I have to deliver this by X time to Y client.
That's when I get stuff done on time. Or if I've said, Hey, I've told this client, I'm going to take X amount of hours. I've given them an estimate for something I'm going to do. And then I, I do it in that amount of time. So if I, so to the point of like your run. Right. Well, I gave myself a certain amount of time to go do it.
And so this is what I do. So when it's something like that, and it's something that I am familiar enough with an activity I'm familiar with, then I can get that done on time. But if it's something else like, I'm trying to achieve a goal, or I'm trying to get a project done or something of my own, that does not have another external, you know, timeline.
Gosh, I really don't know the last time I did something like that on time.
George Drapeau: Wow. And you're amazing. So I mean, the audience really needs to take that statement very, very seriously. Cause like me, yeah, I'm normal engineering kind of guy, underestimate everything I know that about myself, but not you, not you.
Camille Rapacz: Yes. And people who know me well are surprised when I tell them, oh no, I don't actually, that that's not how it works though. Yeah. But, so that's not to say that my planning doesn't help. It's just to say there's no perfection here.
George Drapeau: Yeah. Want to hear the bonus question? Yes. Same question, Aunt Carol.
Camille Rapacz: Oh my gosh. I don't know. I think she gets all her stuff done early.
George Drapeau: Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: That's what I think. But I also, I wonder, with somebody, so with somebody like that, who is very I don't know, what's the definition of her? Type A? Just, on it, super disciplined, super disciplined, getting stuff done, doing all the things.
I wonder how she feels if she feels like she has the appearance of always getting it done, but isn't, but always feels behind. My sense is she would probably say she's not, the appearance doesn't match what the reality is. I bet that's what she would say. Yeah. And I think that's true for a lot of people.
I think we're all trying to, cause I know that's true for me. People have this appearance that I'm on top of things and I'm getting all the things done and you know, on the inside I'm going, man, I'm so behind and I should have had this done by now and I should have done that and always feeling like that.
And I'm always, so I'm always having to navigate that. And I hear it a lot from so many people who just are like, I'm trying to make peace with the fact that everything I'm trying to do, and especially the new things and especially things as they're trying to, you know, either accomplish a big new project or, achieve some goal that they've set for themselves.
Those are the things that really stand out as taking too long. But sometimes it's also just the daily work. Like I sat down to do this task that I thought would just take me about 10 minutes and an hour later, I'm still trying to figure it out. So, it hits us in all these different ways, so I thought it would be a good topic for us to talk about, and focus on why this happens, and then also what you can do about it, because there are things that you can do about it.
We're not going to make you perfect, you know on time with everything that you do. That's not realistic. The idea here is to be able to see what's going on so that we can... Maybe get better at it, but also maybe just feel better about it. Like half of this, I think is just feeling better about it.
I think so too.
[00:06:51] Introducing the Time Dilemma
Camille Rapacz: All right. So let's get into this. Okay. I'm calling this the time dilemma. So the time dilemma is when everything just takes longer than we expect or plan for. So that could be, like I said, you've set a goal and you want to get it done by the end of this month. And then by week three, you realize there is no way I'm going to get this done by the end of the month.
Or maybe you lay out this big project. So if you're like me, you have this beautiful project plan. And like you were describing, you know, your colleague who helps you like that. Yeah. That plan. That's really cute that you did that. But one week into it. You are already going to be behind and this is real.
This is what happens. So why does this happen? Are we just too optimistic? Are we lazy? I mean, what the heck is wrong with us?
George Drapeau: May I add to this list by the way? Sure. Because I think, especially for engineers, the one that I'm going to say here is a common a common attribute or common excuse that it's not really what's going on. But so the item that I'll add is did we not just plan precisely enough? Like, if only I had, oh, yeah, I went through this thing. It took me longer than I thought. But in my planning, I missed these, these steps. And if I only just added these steps, I would have been right on time. And so next time I'm going to try to remember these things.
Sure, sometimes it's better, like an example, if you're giving instructions on how to cook a hamburger or mac and cheese or an egg or something like that, and it takes longer than you thought, there are things you can do to a person. To give them instructions about okay, look, you're not when you're counting on the end to end time from when you start to when you've got food on the table, you're only counting the heating part, you're not counting the prep cook part, the chopping, you're not counting the setting of the table, getting the ingredients together.
There's things that some final granularity, you could list and you get much closer. Absolutely. With the recipe, it's pretty time bound stuff. But most of the stuff like I see in engineering, yeah. We are fooled by thinking, yeah, if I just accounted for these other factors, I would have had a much closer time estimate.
No, no, no, no, you would not have. But this is a fallacy that happens to us. Are you familiar with this one? Does you know what I'm talking about?
[00:09:03] Reason 1: Underestimating Complexity
Camille Rapacz: Yes. And you're sort of touching on our reason number one around complexity.
George Drapeau: Yes. I meant to do that. I meant to do that some way. It was part of the plan.
Camille Rapacz: You're like, yes, that's exactly what it was. So yeah, and so this is a really tricky one because I think you're bringing up a really good point, which is, I mean, when we say the devil is in the details, boy, we mean it when it comes to planning.
So you might be really confident about a task. That doesn't mean it's still not fraught with these complexities and understanding the complexity underneath is helpful. But not always. And so there's, there's also levels of complexity. When you're working on something that, say you haven't done before, or is a really infrequent task it can be really easy to just not acknowledge the complexity inside the work that you're about to do because it's due to you. I haven't done this before. Now after the fact, it's easy to say, oh, I get why it didn't take so long 'cause I didn't add these other four steps that were part of it. Well, sometimes I didn't put them in the plan 'cause I didn't know them because I haven't done this before.
And so it's a fallacy to say, well, if I had just planned better. Well, in that case, it wasn't so much that you planned and I identified all the tasks. Then it was, did I plan well enough to actually leave room for the unknown? And that's part of this challenge of, you know, we're, we're just want to lay things out and then say that's what it's going to be.
That's what the work is going to be, but we are most consistently, most of the time are underestimating the complexity of something. And that can also be from the perspective of the complexity can come from things that were unexpected, like we did not plan for this. You know, something from the outset, something we don't have control over to happen, can add complexity into your work.
And then you realize, well, we didn't plan for that. And so these are all reasons that we give for things taking so long, which are valid reasons. But the big question is, can we do something about them? Which we will get to in part two of this episode, . Okay. But yes. So yeah, I think you're spot on. I, and I'm very familiar with that.
'cause as you know, I used to do project planning and project management. Mm-hmm. for IT projects, for yeah technology projects. And every time they would, we'd lay out all the details. They come up with all the stuff. And my response would always be, okay, this is great. Now we're gonna double the timeline.
And they'd be like, what? I'm like, yeah, watch me. Watch me double the timeline. Well, let's just do let's just talk about week one. Let's just see what you plan to get done in week one and immediately it would be evident how we had completely underestimated the complexity of the work we were going to get into like the first meeting, it would show up that there was more complexity than we thought.
[00:11:51] Reason 2: Unclear Scope
Camille Rapacz: All right. So let's talk about reason number two. Okay. Unclear scope. So when you haven't clearly defined what the work is and what the work is not, then you're left open for the list of tasks to just grow. This is what we call scope creep and project land. And now sometimes this is happening to us.
So maybe a client or a boss is adding new work onto your plate. Like also I need this, this, this, and this, and so the list grows. But sometimes we actually do this to ourselves. And so in our little heads, we're like, well, while I'm at it, I might as well do this other thing or wouldn't it be cool if, and so sometimes we end up just adding on to our pile of things to do. Do you have any examples of this?
George Drapeau: So I can think of an example from my career where scope creep happens.
I mean, it happens all the time, but the immediate example that came to me is from a long time ago when I inherited an engineering group that did a lot of performance engineering, doing very precise, long projects. And I had one very smart performance engineer who was working on a project where he could not deliver a competitive result for four years. And that is not usual in our group. Our group usually could produce for the things they worked on every 6 to 12 months.
One of his problems was scope creep. He would start working on something, plan, and then he'd get excited about what else he could do and he would just add to the project, but that would go wrong or he'd run out of time and the whole project was wiped out and you have to start from scratch.
And one of the biggest ways to fix him was just let's list your scope. I'm going to monitor you literally every day, ask how you're doing, because if I don't, you keep adding things. And when I hear you get to a place where we can claim victory, stop and claim victory. And then if you want to do more after that, at least we get the result. That was an example.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, there's something about being able to define the scope that for some people, I think it can freeze them up because they don't know really how to do that, how to define the scope. And then for other people, they just decide not to do it at all and they want all the ideas in. And there's a time and a place for all ideas to be discussed. But what you were describing was how do we right size it so that we can actually get it done? And this really relates to when we talk about scope, the other thing we should talk about here is if you're going to get your scope clear, it means you have to be really clear about the outcome of the work you're trying to achieve. And I think that's one of the mistakes that gets made when you're trying to develop the scope of something is, but what are we trying to achieve?
And then you can really look at everything through that lens and say, Oh, if that's what we're trying to achieve, does this new thing we're talking about doing actually help us achieve that or will it slow us down? And that includes at what quality and all that other stuff.
And I see this happen a lot when people are designing projects, or when they're you know, deciding, making decisions about a marketing strategy, or they're trying to develop a new offer or program, any of those things. It really requires you to make some tough decisions to get it to a level of scope that you can actually complete it.
And these are all the things that we can struggle with. Right. Cause sometimes we have to make choices to not do things that are kind of cool. And maybe it's not no, but it's a later, like I'm going to do that later. So Yeah. So many reasons why the scope can just be messy, but it is definitely what causes everything to take so long.
George Drapeau: Yeah. Big, big one. This is a great one.
[00:15:20] Reason 3: Optimism Bias or Planning Fallacy
Camille Rapacz: All right. So number three this is one of my favorites. Optimism bias. Oh, ouch. I know. It's also called we also call this the planning fallacy. So this describes our tendency to underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a task. So kind of like what you were talking about earlier with the engineers, like, Oh, we have this fabulous plan.
Here's all our detailed tasks. Just because I wrote all the tasks though, doesn't mean that I have a good estimate of how long they will take. So it's one thing to know the scope of what I will do, but then do I tend to underestimate how long each of them will take? So these all go together. Because even though I might have a perfect list of tasks to do, more often than not, I am going to underestimate how long it will take because I have optimism bias.
George Drapeau: Yeah, I still have that. I still have it. I fight it and I still have it.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, I do too. I've learned to look at things and think, okay, what, what if I actually was going to take me twice as long as I think. And what, how would that play out because that's more realistically what's going to happen, but it's so easy to just, you know, it's just going to take me a few minutes or all I have to do is this one quick thing.
And then who knows what happens. Sometimes it's because we get distracted, we start doing other stuff we let scope creep happen sometimes it's just the thing we do just is going to take longer than we thought. And some of us are a little more optimistic than others in this regard. But I also find it's much easier to check someone else's optimism bias than your own.
So I will easily be able to see in your plan where you're being overly optimistic. Yeah. Then you will in your own plan and vice versa.
George Drapeau: This reminds me of a planning trick I've done before. Yes. So an easy thing any of us can do is to get a And when you're a planning buddy, even if you're not good at seeing my steps and how long it will take better than I am, even if you're not good, it doesn't really matter.
If you just ask me for every one of those steps, how long do you think that will take? Why do you think it takes that long? I probably will discover myself. Just you asking is probably enough in many cases to reveal the actual amount of time, right?
Camille Rapacz: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think anything of whenever we talk about, you know, the challenges that we have with, planning or leading or all the stuff that we talk about every time I would say, if you can just talk through your decision making process, your planning process, your anything with another human. That human doesn't have to know anything about what you're talking about. You processing it out loud is always helpful. It will clarify your thinking. There's something just magical about that. Absolutely.
George Drapeau: I will tell you personally, the optimism bias thing hit me recently.
I've been hiring and I've been reviewing resumes and I thought I promised the recruiting staff. Yeah. I mean, you gave me 50 resumes to look at. I'll get it done tonight during my two hour block. When I'm working on it, nope, I start going through them and I feel good that I'm kind of pouring through them. And then I, I get tired enough to take a break and I look at how many I've done seven. It's like, ah, maybe I get through 15 or 20 of them instead of 50.
I thought I was just going to burn through now. I just couldn't. I know better now, but I really thought I was going to be able to get through these things much faster than I really could. I just didn't know myself.
Camille Rapacz: Well, what I find fascinating about this is this is not your first rodeo. Like, you have hired a lot of people.
Yeah. And I think that's an important thing for people to recognize. Like, one of the reasons we tend to have optimism bias is because we are confident in the task we're doing. Like, oh, yeah, I know how to do this. It won't take me that long at all. I'll get all of this done in a certain amount of time. But what we forget is that you also know how to do it really well.
And so this is not like you reviewing resumes is not the kind of thing you want to take lightly. You want the highest level of quality review you can get because you're trying to hire the best people. So you're not going to skimp out on it and be like, Oh, I just need to speed this process up and just do it faster. It's not like you're going through resumes to hire somebody to mow your lawn. You're hiring somebody to come work on your team. So yeah, I, I love that you shared that example because it really speaks to your optimism bias is primarily around the stuff you are confident in. And that's where we get really frustrated and tripped up.
George Drapeau: It's embarrassing, but it's true.
Camille Rapacz: There's other reasons to think about where this planning fallacy comes in too, which is sometimes it shows up, not just around the things that we're confident about, but it might be because we feel some pressure say to make sure we're telling a client or a boss, like, yeah, I'll get that done in some amount of time you think they want to hear.
George Drapeau: Yeah, I can get that done in two days. Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: You know, yes. And, and then you're like, Oh, now I really have to do it, you know, but you're being optimistic for them. Yeah. It could also be just because you don't want to appear like you're not capable or that you're inefficient at your job.
So you're like, gosh, what are they going to think if I tell them well, you know, my rate of resume review is about three an hour. What, you know, as my boss going to look at me cross eyed, like, what are you doing? So sometimes we're doing it because we just don't want the appearance of, I think that's going to sound like I'm not capable.
George Drapeau: That's true.
Camille Rapacz: So all sorts of reasons for all of these things to take so long, you're underestimating complexity, you're not defining the scope clear enough, you have this optimism bias, and we have all these external pressures on us to do the work however, we think people are expecting us to do the work.
So there's all of these things going on. What are we going to do about it? Like, how do we can we actually overcome this time dilemma?
George Drapeau: Oh, boy. Oh, Camille. May I add another thing that I want to talk about before we answer that question? Yes. Go ahead. I think this is valid. And I think it's sort of a release valve for this conversation or not an excuse, but it's externalities.
So I work in a, in an area of my job where I'm working with partners all the time. There's a common complaint for the technical people who work for me. They say, well, I know I said, I'm responsible for getting this project in the six weeks, but I'm waiting on my partner. They're not always reliable.
They don't always deliver stuff on time. Totally valid happens all the time. They're actually things that we do to deal with it. Some of it is to try to find reasonable ways to expand the timeline based on historically what I know from 20 years of doing this, how much buffer you can build in. But sometimes I just say, yeah, I get it.
Don't worry about it. Sometimes the externality, the uncontrollable external event will just happen. And we'll, we'll just be later than you thought. So anyway, external factors outside of our control, those actually are a thing.
Camille Rapacz: They absolutely are a thing. And what. I find happens with these external factors is that we don't factor them in and then when things don't go according to plan we sort of no longer feel like it's our problem or that we could have done anything about it. So we're like, well, I mean, it wasn't my fault. So and so just didn't do their thing on time or it took them too long or whatever it is. It took longer than I thought it was going to take them. I hear this often.
And it makes me a little bit batty, because if you're really going to plan, I mean, because my project manager brain goes, Nope, that is not an excuse. I could never say that to a client or to a boss or like, Hey, I'm sorry, this project cost overrun is just because, you know, the other people we were counting on just didn't do their jobs.
Yeah, that's not an okay response when it's your projects that you run. So yeah, I think that's a really good point. And Well, it absolutely is something you have to consider. I actually want people to consider it more, not less. I want people to work that into their plan and more, even though that's something they feel they don't have control over.
And it actually fits into what we're going to talk about with these strategies for how to overcome the time dilemma. So I would say you can't 100 percent overcome this dilemma. Because we always have optimism bias because we cannot control all the externalities of the project. We can't know all the things and we don't have a crystal ball.
We can't anticipate every possible scenario of what's going to happen. So that's, that's not possible to perfectly plan things out and always get things done on time. But you can get things done a lot closer to on time. And sometimes you actually do get them done on time. If you do this well. And. You, you know, the answer we've been talking about it.
[00:24:11] Overcoming the Time Dilemma
Camille Rapacz: So you already know the answer to this, but it is planning it, overwinging it, our belief shift, right? Planning is how you actually work to, you're going to diminish the impacts of this time dilemma. That's what we're really going for. Because the other side of this is, this isn't just a tactical problem that you have where you're just need to plan better.
It is, I love what you said about, you used to have these stories that you would tell yourself. Yeah. probably about like, Oh my gosh, I'm just not good at this. Or I'm such a procrastinator or, you know, whatever stories we all have our own, that we tell ourselves about why we don't get things done on time.
That story just needs to be undone. Because if you're going to actually enjoy the work that you do, you need to embrace this idea that sometimes things will take too long. But sometimes you can actually nail it. You can actually get it done on time. Every once in a while, you nail it.
And when you do, it's totally worth it. And this happens inside of just a single project or over time, there's just always this reason to do it because it's gonna click in and the more you do it, the better you get, the more you will benefit from it.
When I first laid this out, I was like, okay, I have four steps and here's I laid out the four steps. The four basics to trying to overcome this time dilemma is number one, to plan number two, to plan better. Number three, to follow the plan better. And number four is to update the plan often.
I know it's so simple. So that is definitely a very oversimplified set of steps. So if you're rolling your eyes right now thinking, yeah, I do all of those things. Stay tuned. Cause I want to pull back in some of the things that we already talked about into this conversation about how we do it well.
[00:25:54] Step 1: Make a Plan (Not Just a List)
Camille Rapacz: So if we're to elaborate on these four steps and make them not overly simplistic, because they are, when I say them that way. Number one to plan. So the first one is if you are not a planner to start becoming one, start making a plan, but when you do it, you need to get detailed. So a plan is not just a list of tasks.
And so that's why I say make a plan, even though it sounds very simple, it's not just a list of things to do. A plan gets detailed around one of the things you just mentioned, which is dependencies. So who am I dependent on? Who's contributing to this? Am I going to wait on somebody else to make a decision, to deliver a thing, to give me an answer to something?
So you need to know your dependencies. You need to know what's unknown. Like, I know there's some stuff that has to happen at this stage of this project, but I'm not really clear on what all the things are yet. So know what's not known and make sure you've put timeline to this. So I'm not just planning to do all these tasks, but I'm thinking about how long I think they will take.
And this is the great point where, you know, George, you talked about having somebody to talk to about it. This is a great point to just now talk through the plan with somebody to help you with filling in some of the things that maybe you just didn't see as you're planning or didn't think about. Yeah. So that's number one.
[00:27:14] Step 2: Plan Better - What's In and Out of Scope
Camille Rapacz: Number two is. You're going to plan better. So what do I mean by better? The better part of planning is when you decide what you will not do, what is out of scope, and this I see people not doing very clearly. So you say, oh, here's all the stuff that I want to do in my project, or here's all the things that I'm going to do to achieve this goal, or this thing that I'm doing.
But we don't say, but I'm not going to do these things. This is out of scope. And when you do that, that's when you start creating that nice, tight little box of this is what it means to get this work done. So now I have a better chance of actually getting it done on time because I've really been deliberate about, I'm not going to do this and I'm not going to do that.
So define a better plan actually includes what's not going to get done. What's not going to happen. This is a way to try and control the scope creep, now I've defined it. Now I know what scope creep would look like to some extent. Yeah.
[00:28:10] Step 3: Follow Your Plan Better - Stay In Scope
Camille Rapacz: So my third one was to follow the plan better. And you might have something to add into this, follow the plan better, George. But my main, my main point about following the plan better is to not allow scope creep to happen. Yeah. Like, really look at it. Like, what is the work that I intend to do next? And follow it. Don't just start to do the work without checking the plan.
You know, when you just get led down this path of investigating something, researching something, working on something, and then you later realize, I actually, I didn't really need to do that. If you're using your plan, it's a way to keep you from scope creeping on yourself.
George Drapeau: Absolutely. I think good project managers, program managers, good architects, technical architects are good at doing this. Actually, the person who built our house literally was an architect. But one of the reasons they got in trouble in the financial crisis was they built these three houses next to each other, all alike.
And once the financial crisis hit and they had to start wrapping things up and get ready to sell, he couldn't, he couldn't stop building. He couldn't stop adding features to the houses. Just couldn't do it. He was fantastic at craftsmanship, not so good at planning.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, this actually brings up a good point about the value of a project manager, which is you really do want someone who is going to run your project who isn't necessarily emotionally connected to that work. Yeah.
When you're the creator, when it's your baby and you're doing all the creation of this thing, it's so hard to control the scope of what you want to have done. And that's when having somebody who can manage a project for you, make that plan, lead that project, boy, then they're really invaluable because they are going to ask those tough questions about how they're going to show you.
This is how, if you make that choice, here's how it's going to impact your timeline. Here's what it's going to do to your budget. Are you sure you want to do that before we move forward? Then you can make those decisions knowing what you're getting into. But without it, you rarely will find somebody who's the creator of something who can just do that to themselves.
[00:30:23] Step 4: Update and Improve the Plan Often
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. Really hard. For sure. Yeah. Good example. All right. So the last one I said was update the plan often. Now this is about learning to go faster. This is not about allowing scope creep to happen. I don't update the plan and add things to it just because I have new ideas.
I still have to stay within the bounds of the scope of the work I'm trying to do. But what you should be able to do is the further you get along in this process, now, you know, things you didn't know before. So you should be able to improve on how you execute on the work, whether that means you can streamline some of it, you're always looking for how can I do this in a more effective manner.
So I still get the quality that I want out of this work, but I'm not just adding on a bunch of work just because I see it. And now I think, Oh, we should also be doing that. A lot of times I see projects that will get to a certain stage and all of a sudden the leaders or the people will just say like, Oh, you know, we have this cool idea we should also do this other thing. And I will always just carve it out and say that will be phase two. We will do that after we get this first thing done, but we have to get this first thing done before we can actually start adding on and do these other features. So that's a way to really control that for yourself. So if you're trying to do that within a team, or you're trying to do that within your business, and you have this big idea, think about like, what's the minimum viable project that I can do now and complete, and then start adding on with phases. Otherwise, you're going to end up like the guy you were describing and nothing will ever launch.
So those are my tips for how to control your time dilemma, how to get a little control over it. Those are mostly around big efforts, like goals and projects and things like that. So I do want to say one more thing about how do you do this like on a daily basis?
[00:32:14] Overcoming the Daily Time Dilemma
Camille Rapacz: This is when I do have just a list of tasks and I'm just trying to get them all done. Right. Never ending list. It's never done. So the main thing I do here, I don't know if you do this, George, but the main thing I do is I always identify what are my daily top three.
Like of all the things that need to happen today, these are the top three that are most critical that I need to make sure I focus on and I don't include in that top three things that are already booked in my calendar. Like, if I have a meeting with George at two o'clock to talk about X project, that's not in my daily top three because it's already in my calendar.
I know that's going to happen. Of course, I'm going to show up for that meeting. These are the daily top threes of things that I need to make sure I do that aren't necessarily part of the part of my calendar today.
George Drapeau: I see. I'm not that organized. I need to include the calendar ones as part of my top three. Otherwise, it can go. It's true. I, I mean, because I, wow, it's interesting. I would like to get to the point where you are. So there's stuff in my calendar, that's meetings that are kind of doing a regular basis I wouldn't consider them my top priority, but they're ongoing. But there's some things I have in the calendar it's a crucial meeting that would have been 1 of my top 3 things. And if it's an item like that, calendared or not, if it's one of my top three things, I want to make sure I will make sure that's on my list of top three so that I don't skip that appointment.
I don't overbook it. I don't, I'm, I'm doing whatever I need to do. If I was doing an errand, I'm back at my desk, wherever I need to be in order to be ready for that meeting. I don't necessarily treat all my calendar items as sacrosanct.
Camille Rapacz: Okay, this is great because I think that we probably have people listening to this who are some are probably like you and some are probably more like me.
So knowing that about yourself. This gets to the always knowing yourself self reflecting like how does my calendar work for me? It is so important because then your daily top three needs to be different than mine. And that's completely valid. There's no reason you have to use your calendar the same way I use mine.
You just need to know that about yourself, which you do. And then you can design your daily top three differently.
I will say that for me, if I have a meeting on my calendar, that is one I want to actually prepare for. So if I have a client meeting, I always book a 30 minute prep time for that meeting so that I'm ready to go. So certain meetings will require that I prep for them before I get into the conversation and then other meetings. I know I'm just showing up because that's it's not mine to own. I don't need to have a plan going into it.
George Drapeau: Awesome. This is a great, this is a great topic.
Camille Rapacz: So I know that these solutions, I don't know, they might sound a little bit simple, or they might even sound like I'm not really sure that this is going to help me at all because, you know, time dilemma.
Camille Rapacz: So, I guess my main message would be I'm not telling you to try and eliminate this problem. Things are going to take longer than you think. I am really trying to give you tools to minimize the impact of that. So maybe they don't take as long as they are right now that you have a better estimate, but mostly that you just are able to embrace that this is the way that we're all operating this way. I promise you that there, nobody out there is perfectly running their day and their projects and their things on time. Maybe some of the time they are, but not 100 percent of the time. So we're all experiencing this problem. So mostly just be okay with it, but not so okay that you don't do anything about it.
That's my message.
George Drapeau: I think that's encouraging actually. There's no perfection.
Camille Rapacz: There's no perfection here. Yeah. Yeah.
George Drapeau: Give yourself a break.
Camille Rapacz: Give yourself a break. And let us know if you, like, how does it go for you? Do you get your stuff done on time? Do you not get your stuff done on time? Are you going to try any of these tips that we shared with you and how does it go?
You can do that by leaving us a voicemail because we would love to hear from you. You can go to thebeliefshift.Com. There's a little voicemail widget and leave us a little note. Let us know how it's going. Also, you can book a free consultation with me if you're curious about how I can help you do some better planning so things maybe don't take quite as long as you think that they're going to take, or maybe don't take double the time that you think they're going to take. There'll be links in the show notes for all of this, but that's just camillerapacz.com/bookacall. All right. Any last words, George?
George Drapeau: No, this was really fun. I'm glad we had this discussion.
Camille Rapacz: Well, good luck with the rest of your day and everything maybe not taking twice as long as you expect.
George Drapeau: Yeah. Thank you.
I've got a list that I made today. I'm, I will give you a report on how much the list I got done.
Camille Rapacz: All right. Excellent. Can't wait to hear. All right, everybody.
Thanks so much for listening and we will be back in your ears next week. /