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Small, super-effective solutions for busy Big thinkers (Pt 2)

If you are like most people in business today you can feel overwhelmed.

Just when you get started on a project or task (your original plan) something “more urgent” comes along and derails your plans.

Your natural reaction is to just divert your focus to the more urgent matter and delay progress on your original plan. Next month. Next year. And the harsh reality is “Next” often turns into “NEVER”. Other things will keep getting in the way.

Now, sometimes it’s the right thing to do to delay progress on your original plan and focus on the more urgent task.

But don’t let delay be your “default reaction” in every case.

I encourage you to explore options before you reflexively put something in the too hard basket.

too hard basket

That’s what it’s about – developing positive thinking reflexes as a habit!

In part 1 I shared how to use a great time from James Clear from the US.
habits-book James Clear

See Part 1 here.

He advises to stay on track even if you have to think smaller. Otherwise you lose momentum and it’s so hard to get started again with your original plan.

His tip (that I’ve been successfully using myself when things seem too hard) is to Reduce the Scope – Stick to the schedule!

When helping my clients cope with that feeling of overwhelm – I’ve added another thinking reflex habit.

Shorten the Scope AND Stretch the Selection.

Yes, I use lots of S words to make it more memorable. You may have noticed Reduce becomes Shorten.

Stretch the selection of possible times and spaces you can work within. Think beyond office hours. Think beyond the office space.

TB headline technique

I’ve recently used this successfully twice to catch up with very busy and often on-the-move BIG thinkers.
We could have delayed until next month or next year – but NO, we had short catch-ups in totally new locations.

One, just after one BIG THINKER had delivered a lecture. We met on campus.

The other, in the evening before another BIG THINKER was about to deliver a speech. We met at the speech venue.


1.SHORTENING THE time required
2.STRETCHING the selection – the possible options in terms of times and spaces available.

(In part 1, I share more about the strengths and the challenges of BIG THINKERS.)

Lots of us think in terms of the standard work day – roughly 9-5. We often think in terms of an office environment.

I encourage busy clients to think as a habit/reflex of how they can:
1. go for shorter sessions (20 or 30 mins) instead of 1-2 hours and
2. explore options beyond 9-5 – beyond office hours
3. explore options beyond the office space

With a recent client in Sydney – we scheduled a shorter session for 7 p.m. That’s all the busy exec could fit in – but better to do that and stay on schedule than delay until conditions were perfect.

Another client likes to fit in a shorter session at 7 a.m.

These busy BIG THINKING clients like to keep the ball rolling on their ambitious projects.

This isn’t about forcing people to work longer hours.

It’s about developing better and more flexible thinking reflexes.

Instead of delaying putting things in the too hard basket – think:

1. Can I do “a smaller chunk” ?(REDUCE/SHORTEN the scope)
2. Can I fit in this smaller chunk at some other time ?(STRETCH the SELECTION – hours)
3. Can I do it in some other space ? (STRETCH the SELECTION – Space)


TB LL mosaic

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:
If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.
I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti
Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.



One comment on “Small, super-effective solutions for busy Big thinkers (Pt 2)

  1. efangelist
    March 3, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .