“Where your attention goes, your time goes.”— Idowu Koyenikan

Creative leaders have lots of ideas. They are often responsible for many different things that all need to be moved forward. 

Sometimes they find themselves spending the day skittering from one place to another. They move many different things forward – one inch at a time.

The problem is that some of the things are big.  And the inch they get moved is soon lost as it slides back 12 inches.  To make real progress on those items, you must move them forward a mile at a time.

Here are five ways to move big things forward a mile.

Start it.  Too often, big things sit there because they are too big even to start. Big things that sit tend to get even bigger. Find a starting place and start.

Break the big thing into clear, achievable parts.  Instead of just picking at the edges of a large project, take a focused two to three hours to find some clearly achievable parts. Create a clear definition of “done” for each part.   When those parts are finished, you can stand on top of your success and tackle the next section.

Plan some interrupt-free time.  Interruptions kill speed. Set aside interrupt-free time. Remember: The number one cause of intrusions is you allowing them.

Schedule a day (or more) to focus on that one thing. Yes, that means that you will ignore the 27 other things that should be looked at every day. Remember that you would ignore them if you had a crisis of any kind. Don’t wait until a crisis occurs to give this task the attention it requires. Your other tasks will be there waiting for you and your focused time may lend perspective to their relative urgencies.

Bring in others who have the skills you need.  You’re unlikely to successfully move a grand piano down a staircase all by yourself. Likewise, for those scary-big things, bring in a few of your trusted experts to lend their help and viewpoints.

Don’t let the creative rush of multiple projects make you forget these time-proven leadership tools. Find a way to tackle those big scary items and move your most important things forward a mile.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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