“I don’t have time to save time!”

256328_stopwatch_1.jpgOver the last few months, I’ve been running a private Beta of SpeedFiler. I’ve recruited a wide range of people, including some of the busiest people I’ve worked with.

However, a few of the people I contacted gave me an almost identical response: “It sounds really interesting, but I’m too busy right now. I’ll try it out in a few weeks.” Because I know them well, I know they are not just being polite, and having worked closely with them in the past, I also know that SpeedFiler could save them lots of time and reduce their stress.

I remember a time when I would have given the same answer — that was before I clawed my way back from the edge, with the aid of GTD. The above answer boils down to:

“I don’t have time to save time!”

Some people are so stressed by their workload to the point where they simply don’t feel they can invest (risk?) a few minutes in something that will (might?) save much more than that on the very first day. These people are so far gone, that they almost cannot be helped. (I know because I’ve been there!)

These are also the people with the most to gain from my product, and I’m wracking my brains to find a way to get the message across.

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2 responses to ““I don’t have time to save time!”

  1. You’ve nicely summarized an irony that I’ve also experienced lately – I’ve started coaching people in GTD (not working for David Allen, alas), and I’m getting inquiries and referrals. However, many of these people (who, as you pointed out really *need* to get organized), are too busy to take it on, i.e., “I don.t have time to save time!” To encourage change I think we need these beliefs on the part of the potential client (please excuse rough draft): 1) awareness of the need for change (i.e., they feel pain), 2) belief that what we’re offering will help (hope), 3) sufficient pain (beyond some personal threshold) that truly motivates the desire for change, 4) willingness to take personal responsibility (accountability) to make the change happen, 5) willingness to commit to enough time (weeks?) to make new behaviors become habits, 6) willingness to take action. Basically, they have to be able to envision an improved reality that’s compelling enough to overcome the current chaos in order to get long-term benefits. It’s a tough sell, like saving or balancing the budget here in the US – the pain isn’t immediately evident, and it takes work – over time – to make lasting changes. Just my 2c!

  2. I agree. Unfortunately, when people are treading water and just managing to keep their head above the surface, they don’t realize they need to find a new way of doing things. It’s only when they start drowning that they realize they have no option but to invest time in learning to swim. These emergency swimming lessons are the most expensive of all, and I’m not talking about money.

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