Have you ever gotten yourself all bolloxed up when doing a project? You’ve gotten yourself tied in knots and you’re not really sure how you’ve done it. I bet if you look a little you’ll find that you’ve made things more complicated than you needed to.
Too often I see plans go right down the tubes because no one understands your plans including you.
I used to take the simple and make it complicated.
If there was a way of making a simple task complicated I was an expert. That was until I learned that complicated only meant that no one was going to understand what I was talking about.
It’s too easy for our minds to go off in a direction we don’t want to go. The more complicated you make it the easier it is for your mind to move in its own direction.
I used to write memos to myself about changes I wanted to make. The longer and more complicated the memo was the less chance that I would get my goal accomplished. I eventually figured out the shorter, the better. Bullet points are a good thing to use.
If it’s more than one page, it’s too long.
No one wants to read long documents today. I’ve got a twenty-five page report I’ve been meaning to read for weeks. I know the report will have interesting material in it. I also know the author could have written this report in five pages and the report would have been easier to understand.
If you want to have a road map for you to follow make it no more than 300 words. That’s about one page long. If it’s longer than that, I bet you haven’t really thought through what you’re trying to accomplish. Think about using bullet reports to set up steps and things to think about. Bullet points force you to be concise in your communications.
Better yet, think about communicating using mind maps.
I like bullet points. I love mind maps. Mind maps require that you are brief. They also show the relationship between different parts of a plan.
At first you’re likely to find mind maps difficult to use. With practice you’ll see that having your whole plan on one page, no matter how difficult, will help you understand what you need to do and to communicate your needs with others.
Start with the fewest possible steps.
You might eventually have to put lots of steps in place. Don’t start there. Start with as few steps as possible. Most of the time you’ll find that the little steps will just fall into place. Let those you work with figure out how to get there and you provide them with what they need to do.
Check lists need to be short.
I know, I already said keep it short. The last step of keeping it simple is to make a checklist. A checklist shouldn’t have fifty different steps. It should have ten or fifteen at most.
The airlines have taken checklist creation to a point where they work. You won’t see long checklists. You’ll see just important items on the list. Think about what’s important and you’ll communicate better.
If you own a business you’ll be interested in our mind map on how to become a passive owner. We believe being operationally irrelevant in your business is the most important activity you can do. Learn how to do this with a one page illustration.