How To Stop Playing Whack-a-Mole & Take Back Control of Your Time

A few years ago I learned that complexity gives rise to surprises (and not the good kind). These surprises push planned activities aside and force us to redo previously completed work, troubleshoot problems, or otherwise set things right (again).

Surprises make us reactive. It doesn’t take many to utterly derail us and transform our day (or week) into a game of whack-a-mole.

Moles pop up everywhere. Plans are abandoned. Battle ensues. The moles win.

But the moles don’t have to win. A little complexity is okay. In fact, it’s good. Complexity can be a great teacher, provided we’ve developed a system for learning from it, and it definitely makes work more interesting. We just need to keep it in check, so we don’t lose control over how we spend our time.

Complexity must be managed, else the moles win.

However, we can’t manage what we don’t measure. Therefore, to keep complexity in check (and stop the moles at the source!) we need to measure the amount of time we spend whacking moles each week (reworking, troubleshooting, and repairing). If we’re spending too much time whacking moles, we need to step back and simplify or outsource a chunk of the complexity to an experienced specialist.

Managing complexity in this way creates a virtuous cycle that allows the business to reliably meet customer needs today and into the future!

  • Productivity assures bills get paid.
  • Learning & Flow assures engagement.
  • Engagement assures productivity.

Feature photo by Mike Towber on flickr.com

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