The Importance of the Follow-Up

Let’s face it, you are busy. I am busy. We are busy, busy people.  No matter what stage of life you are in, you are probably checking your e-mail as you think about what you’re going to make for dinner while you answer your phone. We live in the era of multi-tasking. Based on my own experience, I’ve found that this increased level of (constant) activity makes it harder to focus and easier to forget things.  I’ve also found that when you actually do something that you said you would, people are pretty damn impressed.

For example, my boyfriend’s dad asked me to fill out/mail some paperwork for him. Filling out the paperwork required some instruction-following and reading. Because of this, I was so incredibly tempted to just set the papers aside and “do them later”. NO, self! NO! Fight the temptation!

I forced myself to sit down, read the paperwork, fill it out and mail it in. Done. I wrote an e-mail to C’s daddy telling him the paperwork was mailed, and then felt so much better. Instead of having a small task hanging over my head due to my own laziness, I could now check it off the list. I got an e-mail back from him that was full of praise and amazement over my quick follow-up. It felt GOOD. A task that took me five minutes (and some brain power) earned me serious brownie points. It was definitely worth it. Always gotta get on the parents’  good side. I think this can be applied to anything.  I can do the same thing when my boss asks me to do something. Instead of putting the task off until just before deadline, I could just force myself to do it and get the praise of a quick follow-up. So worth the energy and time.

Here’s another example that just happened today: A friend was looking for some information from me. It was going to take some digging around to find the info, and I didn’t really know where to begin. Instead of putting it off , I just sucked it up and did it. After it was done he thanked me repeatedly, and told me how few people actually do the things they say they will. It’s true. So many people flake out on you that when someone makes a promise and then keeps it, it stands out.

My boss constantly talks about how people will show up to a first interview ready to set the world on fire, but won’t bother showing up to the second round interview.  They won’t even call to cancel.  She tells stories of the numerous times she has given potential interns her business card saying, “If you just e-mail me, you will have an internship.” They don’t.

This post definitely sounds like something my mother would write, but it needed to be said. Now stop reading this blog and go do that thing you’ve been putting off for a week.

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