You don’t hear me screaming, but there are some valuable lessons here

In This Episode…

Looking forward to indulging in one of my few vices, I reached into the fridge, broke off a piece of Green & Blacks 85% dark organic chocolate and popped it into my mouth.  

To my surprise I found myself chewing on something very hard amongst the melting chocolate.  It was a chunk of one of my molars.  Fortunately there was no pain.  But I needed to get it fixed.  

Within 2 hours I had phoned the dentist, arranged an emergency appointment, had the tooth fix and was on my way home.  This episode reflects on the lessons I learnt from the experience.

Edited Transcript

Hi and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s Michael Tipper and I’m here with you with another episode looking at all stuff productivity.

Today I’m out walking as I record this because about 2 hours ago I had just finished my lunch and was having a sneaky, bit of dark chocolate straight out of the fridge (because that’s the only way to eat chocolate).

I bit into it, took a second bite and suddenly realised there was something else hard and crunchy amongst the chocolate.

It turned out to be a piece of one of my molars that had just sheared off. It didn’t cause me any pain, but I was left with an incomplete tooth with sharp edges and the need to get it sorted.

So I was faced with a decision. I wasn’t in any pain. I was however in the middle of things that needed to get done.

Do I carry on with my work and arrange a dentist appointment later on in the week, or do I get it sorted out now?

I chose the latter. I wouldn’t say it was an immediate decision because I had to think about it and weigh up the pros and cons. But within five minutes I decided I needed to get it sorted out.

I rang the dentist and asked for an emergency appointment. They could see me within 45 minutes and as I record this, I am just leaving. I have just had an old silver filling removed and the tooth built up again with a nice and shiny white compound.

And that all happened within two hours.

What I wanted to do in this episode is just reflect on that from a productivity perspective.

First of all, I’ve now had to take two hours out of my schedule to work on something that I think quite rightly can be called an emergent issue. Rather than leave it because it didn’t need to get it done today as I wasn’t in any pain, I got on and sorted it out.

Okay. I’ve put back today’s programme a little bit in order to get it done, but I now no longer have to worry about setting an appointment or finding the time at some point in the future. I’ve done it. I did it immediately. I think it’s a trait that I know has served me well in the past.

In my recent research for my productivity seminar later in the year, I discovered how much longer for it takes people to fix problems if they leave them and come back to them later on. In software development it was something like 24 times longer than if it was done straight away. That is staggering!

I think the urgency you generate by getting things done and dealing with them straight away, does a number of things.

First of all, it makes sure the issue doesn’t get any bigger or any worse. It also means you still have the context to deal with it so you don’t have to get back up to speed if you came back later to fix it.

It also gives you a sense of achievement and control and confidence that you can deal with situations when they arise.

For my “tooth-gate”, it’s come up, I’ve dealt with it, it’s done and now I can crack on with what I was working on before. It’s likely by the time I get back to my office and continue with today’s work, it’ll almost be like this has never happened. I’ll get back into the flow of work rather than let it disrupt my whole day.

The only thing I’m concerned about with this recording is I can still feel my lips aren’t quite meeting at the right place as they would normally do because I’ve still got the effects of the anaesthetic in my mouth! I hadn’t taken that into account when I first started this recording.

This issue of being able to deal with something straight away and get it sorted is a skill I think we all need to develop.

But if I have a look from the other side of this is, I’ve gone to an organisation today at very short notices and they had the flexibility to be able to react and deal with my challenge. They dealt with it in a very professional and effective way and I didn’t feel a thing.

They explained everything to me and going through the procedure, it was just like normal working business. As a business they have the flexibility to adapt.

Being able to respond and fix things that go wrong and being flexible enough to adapt to the emergent needs of others is something we can all cultivate.

We always have to balance that against our priorities and not just choose to get interrupted and distracted because it’s easier to do that.

There’s no single lesson that comes out of my experience today. I think it’s just given me something to ponder on in terms of productivity. It’s given me something to reflect on in terms of how do we react to them when things like this happen?

Are we being productive and effective and proactive in dealing with them and asking those questions.

But I think probably the biggest thing that’s come out of today for me is a feeling of smugness that I have had a situation, I’ve dealt with it, I’ve got it sorted and now I’m back on track.

I’ve been in complete control – aside from when the dentist had his hand in my mouth with a drill and the assistant had a Hoover in there sucking out all the debris from the drilling.

There’s a great empowering feeling that comes from that.

That makes me think, right, what’s next? Let me have it. I can deal with it.

And so that’s what’s come out of today and I thought I’d just share that with you.

Until tomorrow.

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