Time to clean house? A lot of people feel that way at the end of one year and the beginning of another. I particularly feel that way when I see my inbox. I keep a separate address for “junk” or administrative emails. Mine fills up this time of year because of online shopping I did before Christmas. So, once again, I need to opt out.
“Our life is frittered away by detail…Simplify, simplify.” Henry Thoreau
I’m going to teach you a four-step process (over four posts) I use to help people opt out. It’s normal for all of us to accumulate more and more into our lives—whether emails or stuff or activities—and too much gets in the way of our effectiveness. Sometimes an outside set of eyes helps us see the accumulation. Regularly in my coaching I run into situations where others simply don’t see what’s bottling them up. When I see that, and if the other person is willing to cooperate, I bring them through a “4D” process. It’s really helpful.
What are you DOING?
The first D is DOING. What are you DOING? We can’t make decisions on what to stop doing until we know what we actually ARE doing. So, the process involves writing down everything we’re doing. Not all at once, but over a period of several days. It’s like the dieter who keeps a food or calorie journal. Bullet-point by bullet-point, we write down everything we’re are doing. Or, as it relates to a segment of our lives. For instance, for work:
I write speeches
I send emails
I study content
I write blogs
I make sales calls
I collaborate with colleagues
I balance the checkbook
The list might include 50 or 75 or 100 items that the leader currently does. All of it might be good and necessary, but it could also be that the good that is being done is the enemy of the great that can be done.
Now don’t jump too quickly on where you think I’m going. You’ll see. But, seriously, if you’re bottled up, start by writing down all that you’re currently doing. Your first item could be “I do what Tom Nebel suggests by writing down everything I’m currently doing”. See you next time.