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16 Dec

The beauty of getting an overview

Date: 2009-12-16 09:03 Comments: 0 st

Do you ever experience from time to time that you are just completing task after task, doing one detailed thing after another, and everything is spinning so fast that you can’t grasp what’s going on, and that you don’t even have the time to reflect on what week it is and what’s coming up next month? Join the club.

It’s one thing to be in a flow, to feel that everything is clicking and falling into place, that you move from clarity to clarity and are getting things done, but that is not the situation I am talking about.

The condition I have in mind can be recognized by that you feel a week has just begun when it suddenly is Friday, you are astonished to realize that a certain meeting was “this week already?!” or that you are always running out of time when you are close to a deadline. To use a worn, but none the less illuminating expression: “You can’t see the woods for all the trees”.

My solution to this situation is to get myself an overview.


To get an overview is to recapitulate, to take control of the situation and find the strength to make a decision. How often don’t we find it difficult to make any decisions until we have sorted everything out, until we have gotten ourselves an overview of all the factors contributing to the situation?

All the things you need to do

You can get yourself an overview of all the things you need to do by writing down all the things that are on your mind as a to-do-list on an empty sheet of paper. You can also write down every item on a separate Post-It, spread out all the Post-Its on the conference-table and choose the three notes that are most urgent to complete first from the pile.

The month that passed and the month coming up

Find out where you are heading in the short term by flipping through the passed month and the month coming up in your agenda. What meetings have you had and which are coming up? Who have you met and who are you about to meet? What areas have been in main focus to present date and what will need your main attention the next month?

All credit to GPS, but it’s nothing compared to an overview

An overview also helps us orientate. When we widen our horizon and look at our business’ development in a broader perspective, maybe with years as the shortest time units, as paradoxical as it may seem, we can then see what we have accomplished so far even clearer, and hence it will probably be easier to see the natural, desired development in the future.

When you draw your business’ history on a timeline, what significant milestones that you have passed can you point out? What milestones do you want to pass in the future?

By abstracting first, you will be able to focus later.

The constant juggling

If you are juggling many tasks simultaneously, such as projects, exciting ideas or even “emergencies” in your business you need to attend to immediately, then it’s essential to get yourself an overview, which renders you the possibility to consciously decide what you need to work on right at this minute.

Make a mind-map of all the ongoing projects and write down the next step, your next to-do-task (regardless what it might be, for instance, asking someone else to do something for you), for each project next to the project name. And just like that you have a useful to-do-list from which you can check things off, one thing at a time, and feel certain that you are making progress in all your undertakings.

How do you do it?

How do you get yourself an overview and what do you need an overview of? When I lecture, lead a course or work with individuals I feel grateful to have these people share their experiences of how they brought themselves and their businesses to where they wanted to be and in the most efficient way possible, with me.

So, feel free to comment below and tell your story.

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