A friend of mine was complaining about his seeming inability to get anything done. I know this to be untrue, but that’s how he was feeling that day.
“I have all these ideas in my head, and I can’t get enough traction to DO any of them”
Armed with office supplies and a large wall, we sat down and did the following:
- Get the ideas and things to do out of his head. It was taking up valuable real estate. We got each thing in his head on sticky notes.
- We included both professional AND personal ideas – because it still took up the same resource….him.
- Prioritize the ideas and things to do. We came up with 3 categories – do this week, hard deadline not due by the end of the week (regulatory or client deliverable), everything else
- For the everything else pile, we did a rough sifting by importance to him – nothing super-detailed.
- An importance / urgency grid would have been a good next step – but I was trying to remove a bit of the overwhelm. At overwhelm, EVERYTHING feels important and urgent.
- I then asked – “What can you set aside? What goes in a “Not Yet” pile”. We created a 4th category and stuck the stickies that were “Not Yet” into that category.
- I then instructed him – any idea you have, unless it is regulatory or a client deliverable goes into the Not Yet pile.
- This way, he still has a record of those ideas that he can then prioritize as he gets the bandwidth.
- Next time I see him, we will look at the Not Yet pile and see what he can let go of. He reads this blog – so he may just do this without me ?
His feedback the next time we talked was that this helped free up some headspace and allowed him to focus just a bit. He got the things to do this week done and he had put together his next “sprint.” Most important to me, he feels more productive.
Sometimes, something is just not going to get finished.
Sometimes, the idea nags, but other priorities take up the time. It’s not “important” enough to replace some of those priorities. It’s not nagging enough to do.
Just an idea that takes up headspace.
It may be time to let it go.
Or at least, get it out of your head.
If you would like me to facilitate a session like this for you – please contact me. Let’s Work Together!