Open your mind and your heart to better ways to do things — and save time and energy

David Harding, President and CEO, HardingPoorman Group

David Harding, President and CEO, HardingPoorman Group

Procrastination eats up a ton of energy — in worry, negativity, angst and efficiency, not to mention wasting time itself.

When you think about the basic allotment of time you and I have each day, I can’t think of a more precious thing to waste.

It’s been said that when you eliminate procrastination forever, you become a “master of your time.” But how to end that thing we all do — especially when we are up against a difficult project or deadline?

Time to reinvent yourself.

Begin by retooling yourself. Start with time management, and divide your day into “small bites.” Schedule and organize each portion of every day. Set daily goals, then prioritize and organize your schedule to meet those goals.

If you are most productive in the mornings, schedule your most intense tasks then. If you are full of energy toward the middle of the day, don’t waste that part of the day on lunch.

Work to eliminate time wasters such as frequent checking of email, side chats and taking phone calls when you are in the middle of the most productive (scheduled) part of your day.

Make this month your most productive month by ending your tendency to procrastinate — forever.

Get in the right frame of mind.

What else drains your energy? No doubt about it, cynicism and skepticism is heaped high and pretty prevalent now, professionally, politically and personally. Much of it is warranted and probably even useful.

The best place to be, though, is open-minded and open-hearted.

Sure, you could say that’s a pretty “Hallmark moment” perspective. But carrying heavy chips of skepticism on your shoulders absolutely closes you off to hearing the good and mires you down in negativity.

Develop a more caring attitude.

Care more. Ghandi and Jesus embraced the concept. So did Mother Teresa. In fact, so did Steve Jobs. And although he wasn’t liked very much, Jobs was known for caring deeply about what he was making and how it was used.

But really, who talks about caring these days? Certainly not most businesspeople or Congress or those depicted in reality shows.

In business terms, caring is what you do to increase customer retention and keep the value of your brand. Caring = profitability. But caring also gives you a compass. It’s the reason you do the work you do in the first place.

I recommend not just simply caring but caring more. Sure, the mantra may help your organization’s bottom line. More importantly, in the process of caring more, there’s an opportunity to take “the road less traveled,” the road of someone who truly cares about what’s being made and who it is for.

Beware of consequences of apathy.

It has been said that anything left to its own devices with no oversight will degrade to its lowest common denominator and eventually lose its beauty and function.

That’s why we have laws, industries are regulated, bushes get pruned and products have designers.

It’s also true with regard to leadership. A business leader not only sets standards but also helps prune and hone his or her business, staff, products, methods and strategies.

A good leader sets the tone for all this and doesn’t get bogged down in the details. But — the leader is careful to take the pulse of the business area, to make sure those very same standards, staff, products, methods and strategies are not losing beauty and function. It’s an artful dance.

This time of year is natural for taking stock and looking ahead. Take some time to see what pruning needs to be done for the betterment of your business. ●

David Harding is president and CEO of HardingPoorman Group, a locally owned and operated graphic communications firm in Indianapolis consisting of several integrated companies all under one roof. The company has been voted as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Harding can be reached at [email protected] For more information, go to