3 Strategies To Keep Your Word
by Jenny Hatch • November 5, 2015
My biggest pet peeve in life is people who don’t keep their word. It might be showing up late for a meeting or a date, not following through with a task—any empty promise.
Why is my pet peeve not the sound of bag pipes, overcooked fish, or nails on a chalkboard? Because I can avoid all those things. But I can’t avoid people (without becoming a hermit and I couldn’t do that. I’d go crazy).
I have learned in my short few years on the earth that I can’t control others, but I can do everything I can to not be my own pet peeve.
Here are a few strategies I, and my fellow co-workers, at Disruptive Advertising, employ to ensure we keep our word to our clients, our co-workers, and ourselves:
- Over-estimate wait time
- Schedule tasks
- Don’t overcommit
Over-Estimate Wait Time
Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! Why? Because they know how to manage expectations almost perfectly. At their restaurants and rides they overestimate the wait time for you. Then, when they seat you early, you are still happy and thrilled that it took less time than expected. They exceed their word by seating you in less time than they guaranteed.
You can use the same principle at work! If you have a task for a client that is going to take two days to do, tell the client it’ll take three. Still get it done in two and then tell your client you finished early. They’ll be very happy and see that you can keep deadlines and your word.
Under-promise and over-deliver. It’s an old mantra, but a true one.
I am a list maker. I like to make lists rather than trust my brain to remember everything I have to do. It helps me keep my word by ensuring I don’t forget or drop the ball on any tasks.
Teamwork is an “online project & task management software”. In it, you can create a separate project for each of your clients. Then you can go in and add files, task lists, and milestones. You can give status updates, completion percents, make tasks re-occur, assign tasks to specific people, etc.
I use Teamwork to list out weekly reoccurring tasks along with specific, one-time tasks for each of my clients. Then, I go over to Google Calendar and set aside an appropriate block of time for each task.
Regardless of what method you find most successful for you, scheduling tasks and having an agenda will help you keep your word.
Yesaholism happens when we say yes to too many things and end up over-committed, over-worked, and over-scheduled. It results in us breaking our word.
Yesaholism is a plague in today’s society because we don’t know how to say “no” when we should.
Here are three easy ways to break yourself of yesaholism:
- Set expectations about what is in the project scope and what isn’t
- Clarify priorities to ensure that you are both on the same page about what is most important
- Be honest when you are too busy to fit something in.
Not overcommitting allows you time to keep your word without using a time turner.
I’m not perfect, I do break my word sometimes. But when I actively try to over-estimate wait time, schedule tasks, and don’t overcommit, I find it a lot easier to keep my word and not become my own pet peeve.
What’s your pet peeve? How do you keep your word?