I’m lucky to have a cannabis industry mentor who has seen a lot more than I have in almost 2 decades of working within the business, compared to my under 2 years. When we talk about our work, we often find we share similar challenges and triumphs in dealing with various businesses and representatives within the cannabis business.
This past week, we recognized we share a specific professional phenomenon that is starting to hit us where it hurts most: the professional time-waster.
It’s necessary to preface this piece with a universal truth that we always need reminding of as human beings: Regardless of position, age, status, or place within the industry:, ALL of us have limited time, and it’s the one resource that NONE of us can replace when it’s gone.
This is why I am so compelled to bring our discussion to the cannabis community as a cannabis communications professional. Let’s go, time’s a wastin’!
What’s a Professional Time Waster?
A professional time waster embodies a few characteristics. These quirky people:
· Choose communication methods that do not allow for efficiency in time management;
· Have a chronic problem with lack of follow up or follow through;
· Spend more time ruminating rather than working;
· Make their own fail to plan others’ emergencies;
· Use the excuse of being “too busy” to deflect responsibility;
· Suck up people’s time with little acknowledgement of the impact of doing so.
I know of these, because I was guilty of these habits too before I started being more intentional about my own time and how I’m using others'.
Do You Know a Time Waster in Cannabis?
It’s likely that you’ve come in contact with one of these types of people within your work in the cannabis industry. While I am privileged to say my negative experiences have been minimal compared to my positive ones, these are characteristics creep into my business relationships semi-regularly. As I’ve found out through my mentor, my experiences aren’t uncommon.
Do you know a time waster…. Or worse off, could you be a time waster yourself?
Attempting to find some understanding in the communication gaps my mentor and I discussed that the lucrativeness of the cannabis business doesn’t always do cannabis professionals any favors in weeding out the professionals trying to make a differences versus the scammers trying to make a buck.
My mentor noticed that professional time wasting was becoming more common, which makes me nervous. Let’s all promise not to do this to each other any longer.
Hacks to Help
No matter why we slip in our communications, what is common to all cannabis professionals, including myself, is that we can all tweak our communication styles to be more intentional and considerate when it comes to others’ time.
Here’s some practical hacks to keep your communication in check, and your interactions with others airtight:
Choose Your Medium
What can you communicate in an email that you would otherwise do in a phone call? While talking is higher on the richness of communications scale, sometimes calling someone up can be an interruption (and you can’t expect people to drop everything), and making appointments to relay information represents them taking a chunk out of their day for you.
Similarly, don’t try to explain information in a long-winded email that is best conveyed through words.
Choose your medium based on what will get the information through quicker, more effectively (written vs. spoken), and in the least amount of time required for the recipient of what you need to say.
Acknowledge Your Constraints
Lack of follow-up and follow-through is common for people when they’re constrained for either time or money. When people don’t follow up with people, others are left hanging, spending time and energy wondering the status of a project, or initiative.
I’ve heard of a few instances when projects have been started, but then dropped due to a budgeting error. Similarly, I myself, as well as other collaborators have over-committed themselves to certain projects that easily get pushed further and further down the to-do list.
It happens all the time: initial enthusiasm doesn’t always meet the reality of time and energy.
We have to stop thinking we can do it all, and be more kind to ourselves, and others, in regards to the time, energy and money we put into things. We can’t be superheroes of cannabis and cover it ALL, nor can we expect that others will be able to work within our own constraints. When you can’t do it all, that’s when it’s good to ask for help in one of the niche areas of the cannabis industry.
One Hour of Planning Saves Three Hours of Work
I learned this one early enough in my career to keep it in mind often: planning is king. I’ll admit, my own downfall is planning, but as a manager of businesses, I’ve realized that if I don’t plan, I suffer and my work suffers.
When you can take an hour to plan out your week, your day, or your month, in terms of your tasks, meetings, collaborations, content and communications WHILE leaving time to develop your work, you save your own time and others’ time.
Using effective planning, whether that be using a day planner, content calendar, digital calendar, post-it note system – whatever keeps you organized and planned – that old adage rings true: 1 hours of planning saves 3 hours of work.
When you have planned your OWN work, you allow people to plan theirs, and any cannabis professional shouldn’t make their own failure to plan someone else’s emergency.
Stop the Glorification of Busy
I knew I had to change myself and how I did business because when anyone ever asked how I was, I responded: “busy”. It took some honest reflection to recognize what message I was truly sending to people when all I could tell them was that I was busy when they took the time to ask how I am.
How does being told that someone is “too busy” to interact with you make you feel? In the past, when I’ve told someone I’m “too busy” with them, I recognized I sent the message that they weren’t important enough or worthy of my time. That hurts relationships.
When we are stuck in a culture of busy, we can strip the meaning and connection out of relationships, isolating ourselves while isolating others.
Stop the glorification of busy, and if you find yourself spinning with your workload, your communications, and your general work-quality, revert back to the aforementioned point about planning.
Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time, Including Your Own
The cannabis industry is a demanding one, and it involves many professionals trying to make something happen for themselves, their communities, and the cannabis movement as a whole.
Be responsible with your work, your energy, your time, and the impression you set on people that you work with in the cannabis industry.
When you take steps to manage your own time, create efficiencies, and strive to be an effective and considerate communicator within the cannabis industry, people notice.