November Chief's Concerns
By Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Livermore, 169th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published October 29, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It is hard to believe that I am already saying this. Where does the time go? Looking around we see evidence of our lives becoming busier and busier, especially with the upcoming holidays. Some people say it is just a matter of getting older, having more responsibilities or over-scheduling ourselves with too many activities. Has technology become our time eaters? Living under unnatural time pressures can cause a myriad of psychological, social and physical ailments. Delaying tasks that we dread the most can only contribute to these ailments. I am one of those people who usually have my Christmas shopping completed well before Thanksgiving. This year, however, I find myself procrastinating. Falling into a habit of procrastination can be very easy. We find ourselves doing things that are comfortable versus the tasks that we dread the most.
When or if you find yourself in this pickle, think of the 80/20 rule. It breaks down like this: 80% of your outcomes or results will come from 20% of your actions. While this ratio doesn't stand with pinpoint accuracy for everything, there are many practical cases that exist. Examples that speak of this in a general sense are: 80% of a company's complaints come from 20% of its customers, 80% of an organization's output come from 20% of its workforce, and 80% of software problems are caused by 20% of bugs. The opposite is notable as well, for example: 20% of clothes in a wardrobe are worn 80% of the time, 20% of tools in a toolbox are used in 80% of tasks, and 20% of patients have been found to use 80% of health care resources (in the U.S.).
The 80/20 rule can be used in many aspects of our lives. The top 20% of activities that produce 80% of your results are the very same things that trigger you to procrastinate. Do you find yourself reading or deleting old emails instead of getting down to the dirty work immediately? If you pay close attention to your inner procrastinator, it will tell you exactly what you should be doing. What can we do to stop procrastinating? Here are a few ideas:
1. Try flipping your daily "To Do" list and tackle the most result-oriented tasks first.
2. Make constructive use of the time you have.
3. Focus less on perfection. Do you find yourself spending 15 minutes editing that email before pressing send? Why not proofread it once and maybe have someone else give it one final look-over instead.
4. Give yourself time to do nothing. Have fun doing something simple that you enjoy and that alone will help prevent procrastination in other areas of your life.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Use your limited time wisely. When doing so, remember that the most important period (your 20%) will produce the largest results (your 80%).
Lastly, over the past few weeks I have witnessed so many tremendous acts of service come out of a terrible flooding disaster. The Swamp Foxes and our Army Guard brothers and sisters performed as always. I am deeply proud and thankful of my Swamp Fox family. When one is in need they are "Always First" to be there to help when it is most needed.
Stay safe this holiday season and keep looking out for each other.