Twice in the last two days, I have been the constraint on the critical path to a project’s success. On the surface, that makes me sound all sexy and important. The reality is that I lost the freedom to manage my time. The double-headed monster of procrastination and setting priorities is the root cause of this situation.
By procrastination, I don’t mean knowingly not working on tasks “I should have been working on.” This is the more insidious form of procrastination. We’re growing; building out teams, systemizing processes and ending each day not having gotten “enough” done. Don’t get me wrong; this really is a good problem to have. So by procrastination, I mean sometimes items on my task list don’t get a high enough priority soon enough.
Oh, this little gem sounds so easy. Write down all your to-do tasks. Then assign them A, B or C priority and don’t deviate from the plan. Sure, whatever, I’m very proud of you if that works for you. The trick for me is to start looking further down the road. I’m good at knowing what needs to get done today and even this week. Sometimes, I’m not so great at looking a month or a quarter out. By building out teams and systemizing processes, you will free more of your time for long range thinking. Realizing a problem will be a problem 30 days before it is a problem – I’d call that a solution.
Watch the road ahead
When driving a curving mountain road, the trick is to always be looking two or three turns ahead of the turn you are in. This keeps you from over-compensating as you enter a turn you didn’t properly anticipate. Keep your eyes 30 days out on projects and anticipate where the constraints to the critical path will be. Your mileage may vary, but I see this approach working for me.