I have always appreciated details. My work products are known for their accuracy. I’m attentive to how I plan training programs and events. Clients can count on me to be prepared, even for the unexpected.
Alas, there are people who don’t share my perspective. I have clients who find details to be tedious disruptions. Their “big picture” view focuses less on how things will get done and more on why it’s important.
Neither view is better or worse. So why am I proposing that details matter?
Why Focus on the Small Stuff?
We encounter thousands of stimulations to our brain every day. Sorting and prioritizing are required if we are going to get things done. When you adopt only a “10,000-foot view” of your environment, it’s easy to miss the very things that will impact the success of your dream.
Starting a new year is often a time when we commit to big changes. We decide to lose weight or exercise more. Those are worthy goals, except for one big problem. Achieving them will require paying attention to details. Things like buying healthier foods, climbing out of bed early to take a brisk walk, or eating out less often.
Here’s a two-step formula for handling stress. Step number one: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Step number two: Remember it’s all small stuff.” – Tony Robbins
In last week’s post I highlighted how the smallest of deeds might actually be what we are called to perform.
Getting the Details Right
Since details are easy for me, I’ve learned and benefited from some tools and tips over the years. Here are a few examples for those who struggle to focus on the small stuff.
- Take time for planning. Steve Covey called this “Quadrant II time.” The emphasis should be on doing what is important but not urgent. Target at least 2 hours a week for this type of detail work.
- Make lists. A good “to do list” is like guardrails on a highway. The goal should never be just to finish the list every day. Instead, use the list to help you prioritize and focus your work.
- Don’t strive for perfection. This was a common frustration of mine. Now, I define what “good enough” looks like before I begin a new project. When you think something has to be perfect, you may not even want to get started.
- Establish realistic deadlines. It helps to be specific here. Instead of saying, “I need to finish this project by the end of the week” say, “This project deadline, including any deliverables, is due Friday at 3 PM.”
- Acknowledge your distractions. It helps to name whatever might get in the way of your success. If needed, you can add some new tactics to your “to do list” to counteract these temptations to stray.
Your grand plans won’t execute on their own. Use planning tools, or the guidance of a coach, to help you identify how your dreams can become reality. Creating lists, setting deadlines, and monitoring progress will all be needed to ensure success.
Decisions large and small are all about the details. How will you sweat the small stuff in 2020?
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