We’re actually pretty good about keeping our promises to others. Keeping our promises to others is critical to our success because having a reputation for doing what we say we’re going to do, when we say we’re going to do something, is at the core of building rapport and trust.
Where we tend to get in trouble is when it comes to keeping our promises to ourselves. We have a tendency to not honor our appointments with ourselves to do tasks or work we have scheduled. We’re talking about business work, either for internal responsibilities or for clients’ needs, not personal time to plan your summer vacation.
The typical scenario is that we decide to do a particular piece of work at a given time on a specific day, which hopefully we’ve put on our electronic calendar with a reminder set for some time before the appointment time, to get us ready to do the task or work we have to do.
Now, here’s the kicker, the scheduled time arrives to do the work but “something else” comes up that needs our attention. What do we do – we blow off the appointment with ourselves – because it is “only” with ourselves. Consequently we don’t get our work done on time, which adds to our work backlog and increases our stress level. Increased stress levels make it harder to get work done in the time allotted or at the level of quality we expect of ourselves.
If the appointment was with someone else, and not ourselves, we would not have blown it off so easily – we would have kept our promised appointment time and scheduled another time to do our work.
Keeping our promises, such as appointment with ourselves, equal to how we keep our promises to others, is critical to our ability to get our work done in less time with less stress.