Some time ago, my wife and I were getting ready for a date night. I was ready and thought we might leave a bit early. I asked, “Are you ready?” The answer was not what I expected…”Yes, I just need to get dressed.” Wait, that means yes? I am sure that was an isolated case in our modern human existence, so I didn’t worry too much about it.

How Do You Define “Ready”?

I think of ready implying I have nothing preventing me from moving to the next thing, whether it be date night, a long road trip, a business opportunity, whatever. Others define ready more loosely, like they are in the right frame of mind to start the activities that would make them ready eventually.

I recently was talking to an associate at work about a project status, and their response was something like, “It’s good to go, we just need to code it.” Being a software project, it seemed to me the “coding” part was no small feat. My own internal dialogue was, “well, then it’s not really good to go then is it.” We clearly had different definitions for the same word.

How to Get Ready Faster

If you are one of those folks who always seems to be not-quite-ready, here are a few tips to getting ready faster.

  • Stay Organized. The more organized we are in life and business, the less time it takes to get our stuff together. On a personal level, I know where my keys and wallet are stored in the house, so I don’t have to take any time finding them before I can be ready. In business, I spend a fair bit of time reading and researching trends to be ready for the future. Then, when an opportunity comes up I can honestly say, “I have thought about that, I am ready to move.” Organization creates speed.
  • Live with Less. Recently, I took some folks to the airport for a one week trip to Hawaii. One couple got in the truck with two bags, a carry-on suitcase and a small handbag. The other couple got in the truck with five bags. Two large check-in-only-at-the-weight-limit suitcases, two carry-on bags, and a handbag. Two very different approaches to the same trip. I contend one couple was able to move faster at every change point in the trip. Check in at the airport, go through security, get on the airplane, get in the rental car, pack to go home, etc. Less to manage is an accelerator.
  • Have a Checklist. A couple of years ago, we had a major forest fire here in Colorado Springs. That scary event prompted us to create “Go Bags” for each member of the family containing some food, water, and survival supplies. Attached to each bag is a checklist instructing that member of the family what they are to do and get before we drive away in an emergency. Since we took time to get organized, and decided how little we could get by with, the checklist allows us to perform in a stressful moment without processing delays. Checklists create precision under pressure.
  • Your Next Move

    Next time you are talking to someone about being ready, first make sure you are on the same page about what ready means. In the mean time, get organized, minimize your needs, and create a checklist for what is really important.