Have you also from time to time experienced that the things just waiting to be done are in a real mess and you need to get a good overview to sort out what needs to be prioritized and what are the next steps?
It might be needed in some area for you individually or for your entire business.
Here is a quick and efficient method used successfully by both myself and several of my clients.
Do like this:
- An empty page
Take an empty piece of paper and place it on the table. If it concerns the entire business, get together with your management team or a few key figures, and get yourselves in front of a whiteboard, giving your more space to work with.
- First thing’s first
Wherever it first strikes you to, write the name of the first project/area/to-do-task that comes to mind on the surface.
- The rest
Now write the next, the next and the next name wherever you feel they fit in on the board or on the piece of paper until you are all out of things to write down. You don’t need to make an effort to make it look nice, but rather try to make the arrangement of the words represent how the projects look to your mind’s eye.
Now all the balls, which were previously in the air, are on the board. Grab a red marker and circle or draw an irregular shape around the projects/areas which need your immediate attention, and let the shape and size of the circle represent how much space they are occupying in your mind.
- Important, but not imperative
Now get a blue pen and circle (or draw another shape if you prefer) the areas which are important but not absolutely urgent, again illustrating how much space they are occupying and attention they are demanding.
- No hurry
Also get yourself a green pen and circle the remaining projects in the same way.
Now you have transferred all those flying balls out of your head and onto the board, indicated how important they are in relation to each other and how extensive they actually are. Take a few moments to consider what you have written and see if there is something you want to alter before going ahead with the next step.
- From clearing things up to taking action
Now it’s time to go from clarity to action. Beginning with the red projects or areas, write the next step for each project within its circle and write it as a to-do-task, that is, detailed and as a sentence with a subject, a predicate and possibly also objects.
- … and finally the blues and greens
Do the same thing with the blue and green circles.
- On to the to-do-list and start checking things off it
When you are done defining the next step for all areas, transfer the to-do-tasks into your system for dealing with to-dos and get started with checking them off, one by one.
Going from feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by having too many loose ends and balls in the air floating in your mind, you have now made it clear to yourself exactly what needs to be done in each area to move things forwards, and you have even determined what and how to prioritize. You have reached clarity, gotten things into gear and once again, you are up to speed.
Repeat this whenever you feel the need for it.
How do you do it?
Do you know more ways to clear things up, get an overview and get going again whenever you feel overwhelmed by assignments calling for your attention? Please post a comment below.