Time lost in life is not recoverable
There is something I have found impossible to do is to compensate myself for the time I have lost in life.
In life you live a second, a minute and an hour of a particular day once and you will never see the same time of that day again.
Once a day is lost forget about it as you have lost it for ever.
There is no way you can take the clock of life backwards from Tuesday to Monday in order to compensate yourself for the Monday you lost while sleeping instead of handling the work you had planned for the day.
Once you lose time you are faced with the challenge of handling the backlog of work which you did not handle on the day as planned.
The common strategy for all of us is to carry forward the accumulated work. But carry it forward for how long.
My tendency in life has been to indefinitely carry forward uncompleted work. Unfortunately I have not kept any record of all work I have postponed since I started my journey.
It is good I did not keep a record as it would constantly remind me of my failures in life.
Constant reminder during retirement
I have had a chance to advise people who are in retirement like myself on income strategies to adopt while in retirement. I have noted it is in retirement when all the problems you did not solve become visible. There is a tendency of people in retirement to withdraw into self- pity mode as they think they cannot make it. They tend to blame themselves what they did not do when they were young. My advice to people is not to assess themselves unfavourably with others whose missions are different from theirs. Their mission may not have been to create wealth for the retirement. I also always remind them it is never too late in life to create wealth so long as you have a clear mission and a determination to achieve it.
How can you avoid backlog of challenges?
Your ability to promptly solve problems will depend on the culture of the organisation and the community around you. I was one time in-charge of an audit of an institution where the CEO made it so clear to the audit team that he did not want to receive any problems which may arise as a result of the audit. It took a lot of convincing for him to accept a letter of improvements from the team. He also did not want our letter of improvement to reach the board as he had convinced the board the institution did not have any problems at all. I knew from the word go I was dealing with a CEO who had negative attitude towards any challenges the business was facing. To him a challenge meant a failure on his part. Through his negative attitude towards challenges he created a negative culture which everyone in the organisation was religiously following. Staff did not bother to alert him of any challenges because they knew he did not want to entertain challenges from any one.
Be of open mind
For one to solve a problem he or she must not have a fixed view on any challenge. One needs an open mind about the challenges as they arise in order to be in position to clearly define and analyse them. For example the cause of staff coming late is not because they are lazy. There are a number of reasons why staff may come late. It may or may not be laziness on their part. The actual cause can only be got through talking to staff with an open mind with the aim of coming up with practical solutions. People with closed mind about challenges will not solve any problems because their mind is blocked by the negativity they have about challenges in life and business.
Develop clear plan to guide in problem solving.
The organisation should have a problem solving strategy or formula which should be invoked whenever a problem arises. In developing a problem solving strategy the following steps among others should be taken into account;
- Define the problem in order to clearly appreciate the magnitude of the problem
- Analyse the root cause of the problem to avoid addressing symptoms
- Develop tailor made solutions aimed at addressing the cause
Do not treat symptoms of a problem
Many times in life we all tend to treat symptoms of a problem and not the problem itself. I had a habit of taking pain killers until I found myself down for a week because of mishandled malaria. Now days I visit my doctor for advice whenever I develop high temperature. My doctor for sure first listens to me in order to understands my complaints, analyses the possible causes through various checks and laboratory tests and finally comes up with a practical solution. Sometimes he just tells me I have no problem except eating well and resting. In life therefore never jump to solutions until the problem has been properly defined and analysed. Every symptom of a problem does not always lead to a major problem.
The embracing of Information Technology (IT) by an organisation can greatly enhance the capacity of an institution to process and access information at a high rate. This means decisions are made in time. Technology if well deployed can also help in quick identification and analyse of problems in an organisation. The time it takes to solve a problem can be quite shortened when IT is fully deployed.
Lack of adequate human resources
An organisation capacity to solve problems is also impacted by the capacity of the human resource to solve problems as they occur. In my previous capacity as an auditor I came across many frauds which were blamed on human capacity constraints. Management should be aware of the possible outcomes of shortage of staff.
In life and at work place, you should create a plan for handling work on a daily basis. You should ensure that no work is carried forward from one to another. The habit of planning and clearing the daily work will eradicate the possibility of having a backlog of work.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited