Do the next right thing.
It isn’t very often that I get to take inspiration from Disney animated films, but today I am. I am sure that many of you have seen Frozen, and its arguably even better sequel. I was particularly moved by a simple thought that came out of Frozen 2. The stories are great in and of themselves, but particularly for those of us with daughters. They are empowering films for girls (or any other group marginalized in the power structure)!
In Frozen 2, Pabbie makes the simple but powerful observation that “When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing.” I love this quote. I use it with my daughters all the time. I think it also has relevance to the situation that many of us at RocketBuild find ourselves in right now… too much to do and not enough time to do it.
So, my advice, stolen from a cartoon troll-thing, is to stop trying to take in the entirety of the work that needs to be done and to just do the next right thing. In our case, the next right thing is usually the thing that has the most immediate dependencies and/or provides the most value to the project and client.
Here’s how to put it into practice…
Take a quick gander at your to-do list (or tickets). Make a quick handwritten list of the ones that seem to be the most urgent and important. Then rank them. Write down the 2 – 3 that rise to the top. Put a block on your calendar and focus that time on completing the first thing ranked on your list. Hide your list from your self. Close Slack. Ignore your email. Just do the next right thing.
Then take some time to catch up on the messages you ignored. After that, repeat the above. Of course there will be distractions (kids, phone calls, bathroom breaks, shots of tequila…) but don’t let your list of responsibilities be one of those distractions. If you are thinking about doing all of the right things, then you’ll never focus on the one that is most important and/or urgent!
Get our of your own way by allowing yourself to focus on the one most important thing. After that one is done, do it again.
In these times of remote work, self-isolation, and seeming disconnectedness, RocketBuild’s Chief Innovation Officer, Jason Ward, has been sharing his creative thoughts with our team. He makes a valiant effort to inspire the crew daily with his words. His musings, ranging a variety of topics, are intended to promote deeper thought, self-gratitude, and innovative ideas. Semi-regularly we’ll share some of those daily thoughts here.