Now and then, in the middle of a project, I realize that something has been overlooked and, instead of hurriedly thinking through the issue in front of me and quickly moving along, I stop completely and start asking important questions.
1. Why am I doing this? Here’s a hint: if you don’t know the answer, then stop until you do. There is no need to waste time doing things and not knowing why we’re doing them. Being busy just to be busy is insane for anyone and for any professional out there, it’s costing you money.
2. What is the result supposed to be? At some point in any project, the project usually evolves somehow. Something you thought was important wasn’t and something you overlooked is now supremely important. The result you had in mind at the beginning may have evolved with your project or idea. Take some time to check that out.
3. Is what I’m doing now the most effective way to get to my goal? I’m not talking about the quickest way or the cheapest. I’m talking about what gets this thing done without the hidden costs being overlooked because they will come back to bite you and that hurts. Sometimes the evolution of your project might make your original strategies moot. That’s ok. I repeat: it is okay if your plans get interrupted. If you ever have the perfect plan and you’re alive on earth, you’re probably stagnating and that’s not a good thing.
Now, go get a cup of coffee, breathe, and remember that you are awesome at finding and re-finding solutions to problems and that’s probably why you have your job. Don’t lose confidence, but realize that sometimes needing to backtrack, retrace, rethink, and re-strategize is not the end of the world nor is it a sign of incompetence on your part (unless things are burning or dying… then we may have a problem).
Pop over to Starbucks, get a coffee and a cookie, listen to Adele (or whatever you mellow out to) and bust out another can of awesome.