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Taking Action vs. "Thinking"

Posted by Bob Corlett on February 7, 2011

Almost everyone I know is really, really busy. It's hard to find time to think, so tasks that can be done without much thinking end up getting most of our attention. Things that require deep thought, like hiring, just slow us down. So we set them aside for later, saying "I need to think about that some more."

It all sounds so ... thoughtful and responsible.

Except, like Winnie the Pooh, "Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?"

Hiring new people is risky and often a bit unfamiliar to managers. It's not "on fire" so in most organizations you can get away with delaying for a good long while. You can't really ignore it completely, so you tell yourself,  "I'm thinking about the job description." Or, "I'm still thinking about who I want to interview from that stack of resumes." Or, "I'm deciding who to bring back for a final interview."

And three months later the job is still vacant.

As it turns out, you were not "thinking" at all. You were simply delaying  ... and making the problem worse by not taking decisive action.

So when you catch yourself saying, "I want to think about that," I suggest you do what we do at Staffing Advisors. When something is important but unfamiliar, when we might find ourselves procrastinating, we just turn it over to our scheduling mavens - our Project Coordinators. They grab our Outlook calendars and schedule time to deal with it. When the Outlook event pops up, then we "have time" to think about it. We deal with it, and move on. This keeps our projects running on schedule, and frees our attention from trying to remember all those things we "have to think about."  We either:

  1. Handle an issue right now.
  2. Decide not to handle it at all, or...
  3. Schedule a specific time in the future to handle it.

Because long ago, we realized that "thinking about it" is not really doing anything at all.

Topics: Personal Productivity, Hiring Process