Friday, 20 February 2015

Low hanging fruit

You know that feeling you get when there is so much to do (and it keeps on coming) but just don't know where to start? Or perhaps you've started and have several kettles on to boil, but the order you plan to boil them in changes every time someone asks for something urgently from another pot? (That reference is becoming quite obscure. Hopefully you know what I mean!)

Thankfully, my inbox is nowhere near as hectic as it has been throughout history. Better management means that surprise meetings at short notice are relatively rare, but my team's workload this past year has been extremely high. Even though the end of this project is almost in sight, there is SO MUCH to do before then and the sands still shift frequently. As the deadline approaches, we are scratching our head for solutions and ways that we can support each other to survive.

Now, I know all about eating an elephant; I've eaten a few in my time. This strategy is an oldie but a goodie. It works if you break tasks down into small, manageable bits.

I know for certain that flogging a dead horse doesn't work. I used to do that a lot (and have it done to me) in a previous life. Thankfully those days are over.

I'm adopting the low hanging fruit strategy, looking for small, easy wins that I can knock off and have some success with while still chipping away at the big jobs. It's kind of working.

One colleague has devised a copiously long To Do list. I advised her to cross off tasks she has completed instead of rubbing them out or creating a revised, shorter list. That way, it looks like she has actually achieved something instead of just facing what is left to do.

Another colleague has chosen to combine to all our approaches with a To Do list laden with low hanging fruit and other essential tasks. I totally understand the logic in this quote and may steal it for my own To Do list. We smile at her daily success. :-)

Of course, procrastination doesn't really help but it's a good stop gap for sanity at the most manic times.

What are your survival strategies for busy times?


KezUnprepared said...

I like the low hanging fruit idea. I think that is probably a good way to describe my approach when I feel overwhelmed. Just start with the things that don't freak me out as much. Then you can tick them off, gain confidence and momentum and kick arse! :)

Ness said...

I also like the low hanging fruit idea.

I LOVE the idea of adding coffee to my list so I can cross it off! I have had 2 coffees today so that's 2 things I can tick off.