It’s a typical Monday morning, and your most senior analyst is staring at her screens. Not typing, not analyzing, just staring. You walk over to her and offer her a penny for her thoughts. Or maybe a cup of coffee or two.
She looks at you and replies, “I don’t even know where to start”.
There’s the backlog of escalated issues, the three projects that she’s been dragged into, getting caught up on documentation, and the overflowing inbox.
Does that sound familiar?
But hopefully you’ve also heard the voice in the back of your head that says “it doesn’t have to be this way”. You may not be able to put your finger on a solution, but you know that one exists. Have you ever wondered why this problem plagues us? It’s pretty ubiquitous, and kind of simple. It really just means your people can’t discern between the urgent and the important.
Urgent tasks are the ones that are being escalated and need to be completed quickly. The only question is who should be completing them, and what level of experience and knowledge does someone need to complete those tasks. Important tasks are the ones that you need to complete because they further your mission and purpose. And are therefore more strategic in nature.
Tell your team how much time they need should spend on the urgent stuff each day, and how much time to dedicate to the important stuff. Giving them that structure will help them get more done, and will result in less staring at the screens.
Bottom line: Help your people spend less time to deciding and more time doing and completing. Remove decision fatigue completely from your your daily activities.
If you can succeed at this first step, you can move on to identifying those often repeated tasks that can be scripted and either partially or completely automated. It’s a journey, and each step forward builds upon the previous step.