Do you get in the habit of constantly rescheduling meetings? What about making promises to deadlines that you don’t end up keeping? This doesn’t make you a bad person, but it can cause problems when building trust with the people you work with. When we set a deadline or tell someone we’ll get back to them “by Friday” and then don’t, it’s not necessarily because we didn’t have good intentions in meeting our commitments. We want to please people — and sometimes we overpromise and underdeliver because of it.

According to the Harvard Business Review, it doesn’t matter how good your intentions were when you set the expectation. What matters is meeting the expectations being set. And it’s much more important to give yourself more time than to set an unrealistic expectations that probably won’t be met.

It’s much more important to give yourself more time than to set an unrealistic expectations that probably won’t be met. Click To Tweet

In the HBR article, the author recommends following through on your commitments instead of rescheduling them. Treating them like, you know, commitments.

“If you really mean no when you say yes, then say no in the first place. We are all in the same boat — we have finite time and a seemingly infinite number of worthwhile things to do with it. Don’t know how to say no? Google “how to say no to a request” and then study up. Commit yourself to not agreeing to do things unless you’re going to follow through. Ask for time to think things over if you’re unsure. Don’t over schedule yourself. If you’re truly overextended, you may require a transition period to weed some things out; after that, once you say yes to something, stick to the yes. If the commitment seemed like a good idea at the time, it still is — even if the value is found not in the activity itself but in being trustworthy and following through.” (You Have to Stop Canceling and Rescheduling Things. Really., Whitney Johnson)

One practice I do, and tell my clients to do, is mark everything – regardless of whether or not it’s a personal or external commitment – on your calendar. Set a reminder. Set the time frame. If it’s on your calendar, it’s a commitment. And commitments cannot be broken.
Will you commit to following through on your commitments?


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