Are you the next thing on the schedule? Is someone next on your schedule?
Scheduling is an organizing tool that gets things done but can also remove the feeling of importance from you or someone else.
When you are on a schedule, there is a time constraint put on you or another, and the ability to explore whatever is scheduled more deeply is missed.
Scheduling serves a wonderful purpose. It keeps our trains, buses and planes on time and it allows businesses and households to function more smoothly. Where scheduling gets in the way is when you feel you are being squeezed into someone’s day.
The formula for failure seems to be: Treating X like it’s the next thing on the schedule rather than X being the schedule.
It’s a matter of attention. If you are scheduled, your attention is more on your schedule than it is on the person who is scheduled.
Physicians are accused of this all the time and, frankly, many I’ve experienced are guilty as charged. But this isn’t a rant on doctors.
The ability to have your attention on whom you are with when you are with them keeps your focus on them and scheduling becomes invisible. It’s still there in the background, but it doesn’t get in the way of a connection. The interesting thing is that when you give your full attention, the interaction often comes in ahead of schedule.
This works with tasks as well as it does people. Giving your full attention to the task at hand has it happen in less time than it would if you’re also focused on the next scheduled event.
If you’re looking for a good example of task focus with people who have a busy schedule, I invite you to watch a pharmacist work. Most of the ones I’ve witnessed have laser focus when filling a prescription. It must be something they’re taught in school. It results in fewer mistakes and they stay on schedule.
Here’s my final thought on today’s schedule: If you are doing important work or you want to convey importance to someone you are working with, give it or them your undivided attention. Translation: Make attention the only thing on your schedule.
All the best,
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