Tackling 2013's Pent-Up Workload — Without Delay

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Kirsten NelsonHow many cups of coffee does it take to screw in a light bulb? Some workdays seem to require just a bit more momentum to really get anything done, and sometimes we find ourselves busily tackling mundane tasks while huge projects loom unfinished.

Happily, recently published books and research suggest that this “productive procrastination” is actually a good thing. Sometimes it’s exactly what we need to do, in fact, to mentally and literally clear our desks and minds so we can focus on an important task.

As editor of this magazine for 15 years, I’ve seen procrastination of every variety, and I myself am an accomplished practitioner of risk and reward scenarios. In fact, I am writing this column on press day with the promise that when I finish, I can get another coffee.

But the funny thing is, my much delayed writing is composed for an audience comprised of some of the most productive people I’ve ever met. Whenever I am dragging my feet on an assignment, all I have to do is call one of my friends in the industry to ascertain what an insane workload they are cheerfully tackling, and my own to-do list seems simple by comparison.

This endless capacity for achievement is evinced by our industry columnists. Those who write about the issues affecting their own business day-to-day write with vigor and immediacy. When I asked Joey D’Angelo, vice president of Charles Salter Associates, to write about hacking, I had copy in my email inbox within a matter of hours. When I approached Omega Audio Video president Matt Scott about writing a business piece on one of his favorite topics, lighting control, he pursued the interviews I assigned to him with great aplomb and turned in a story with all the tenacity of one who every day faces a mixture of cold calls and certain deals with long-term clients.

That’s who we write for and about at SCN—those who built their business on getting things done even when that seems impossible. As such, this issue contains our annual report on the state of regional business in the U.S. In an industry where workload very much depends on local economies, it’s important to take a look at each section of the market to get a complete picture of what may transpire for other segments.

Across those many pockets, it seems there was one consistent message this year. There is a lot of “pent-up demand” out there. Clients have been procrastinating on work that now has reached a peak of requirement. Your customers have been putting off the big decisions about how to best handle technological change, and now it’s time to commit to the task at hand. When the pieces are in place and they have cheerfully signed a service contract to help abate fears of future format changes, you can all go out for a cup of coffee.

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