Don’t solve a problem until it is due!

By johannatime On April 10, 2015 Under Productivity vs Procrastination

A mañana attitude is not the most productive mindset. Rather, it often is more like procrastination than it is a relaxed way of life. However, there is an underestimated strategy beneath leaving tasks for tomorrow.

Project management as you know it

Do you manage projects sometimes? All of my clients do, and they all think mapping out actions ahead to complete the project is the way to go. It is not. In fact, it is a waste of time and a waste of energy. What’s more, it blurs your perspective and it stops your ability to recognise opportunities for better results. Here’s why:

When anticipating on an outcome of any project, there are countless options and thinkable scenarios of how to get to the end result. Events within your control will surely influence the outcome, but even more so, it wil be affected by things you cannot control at all. Anticipating on more than one or two thinkable scenarios is simply to much for your task lists and calendar, let alone for your brain.

Mañana project management

The best way to tackle a project, any project, is first to clarify an outcome that is satisfying and sufficient. Your idea of the end result must be practical and realistic enough that when you meet that outcome, you can tick the project off your list. Once clarified, you gradually work towards that outcome in single steps, one at a time. So other than articulating your goal and the first action, there’s no need to map out a plan. Agreed, tasks could be done simultaneously, even parallel projects and sub-projects within projects need to happen, but still, you cannot and should not work out action steps beyond the first couple or so.

Think of it this way; when you take a walk, even a stroll to your nearest cafe, you’ll need to cross a road or two. Would it help you to worry about how to cross that busy street before getting there? Needless to say, you trust there will be a gap in the traffic for you to continue your walk and grab that espresso.

It is the same with projects. Many steps are required, most of which cannot be anticipated on beforehand. When time passes, it will drastically reduce all possible scenarios, making it lots easier for you to navigate towards your goal. Planning ahead is therefore a waste of time and it makes you less flexible to respond to unexpected twists and turns. In fact, by focussing on the end goal rather than the third next action on your schedule, you are more likely to recognise an unexpected opportunity for an even better outcome.

How do you tacle projects? Have you got a plan ready for every thinkable scenario? Or do you procrastinate? What is your strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below:

Johanna Jansen


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  1. Habit of the month May: Bite sized chunks | Time Mine
    May 6, 2015 9:00 PM

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