One of the fastest ways to sort through what is happening in your world is to write down your thoughts. Words are seen by your brain as pictures1, so when you write things down, your brain sorts and sifts in an attempt to categorize and find placement. Seeing your issues in a visual form helps organize your thinking, and allows you to see all the pieces that are involved2.
Yesterday I working with a team and discovered that the biggest issue for the group was workload. So we started brainstorming. So I asked them to identify one thing they would personally love to drop, and one thing they think a team member should drop. They scribbled their thoughts on PostIt notes which I turned into a made a visual list of all the things they thought they should stop doing.
And something magical happened. That big Aha! moment that we all long for. Out of the list, there emerged a common theme; a root cause that could be blamed for almost 80% of their workload problems. There was a third player who wasn’t in the room, whose resource-use was high for everyone. Multiple meetings with this party were taking up critical time. If those meetings were attended by someone else, maybe a sub-contractor, or someone from another part of the system, this group’s time would become free to focus on more pressing tasks. The group heaved an audible sigh.
We often think we know what our problems are about, but sometimes we are just perceiving them on a trivial level. We finger point and kvetch about it, and yet if we just took the time to get it out of our heads and onto paper, we might be able to see what it is really about.
This week, up your creative genius in problem solving. Take some things you are working on that are puzzling you, bugging you, or otherwise overloading you. Write them down, and list all the qualities they have, all the players that are involved, and what the whole picture feels like. Use pictures or symbols if you can. Then search for common themes – circle them, and zone in on them. Decide if they are really necessary, if they could be delegated, or if they could be dropped all together. You’d be surprised how many things we think are important, simply because we’ve convinced ourselves that they are.
Summer is a great time to clear your head and get rid of all that garbage you’ve collected. Free your mind and create some headspace for magical moments. Let go of some work, bad behaviors, or people that are impeding your goals. Leave space in your day to just appreciate that you and I are able to choose. Then creative genius, choose to do good.
P.S. With a little of that extra free time you created, think about how you might do something to help the family separation/imprisonment issue in the US. Click here to find out how.