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16 Dec

The beauty of getting an overview


Datum: 2009-12-16 09:03

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.

Reca­pit­u­late

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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