“The most challenging one to manage is you. ‘Self-leadership’ isn’t a concept that most of us think about all that often. Yet leadership capability relates as much to how we lead ourselves as how we lead others. Some of the greatest barriers we face along the path to pushing our ideas to fruition lie within us.” —Scott Belsky
Your mind isn’t wired to do projects, it’s wired to solve problems.
Imagine that you are about to run a race. As you step up to the starting line, you can’t see the finish line so you turn to the person next to you and ask “how long is this race?”
“I don’t know,” they reply. “We just keep running until they tell us to stop.”
That would be silly. There can be no race without defined terms of engagement. But, we often do a similar thing in our work. We lack clear edges. We don’t know how to tell when something is complete. Instead, we keep working until we run out of time or money, or until someone else tells us to stop.
This is what often happens when we think about our work in terms of projects to do instead of problems to solve. Projects are open-ended. They can always be made better, or more complete, which is a challenge to creative pros, especially if they struggle with perfectionism. “Is this finished?” is a difficult question to answer. However, it’s much easier to answer “Did I solve the problem?” If so, then the work is complete.
As you consider today’s work, have you clearly defined the problems that you’re trying to solve? If not, how can you clearly define them so that you have clear edges for your work.
Question: How can you break up your important work today into problems to be solved instead of projects to accomplish?