In a prior life, I often found myself dealing with about 136 issues daily, hoping to solve as many business problems as possible. But, no matter how many issues I moved off my desk, the next day there'd be a few more there waiting for me. I measured my productivity and success by how many problems I could solve. Often I found myself solving the same issues over and over again. Sound familiar?
When I read Gino Wickman's book, TRACTION, Get a Grip on Your Business, I was struck by the simple concept of compartmentalizing - prioritizing and placing everything in the right compartment to make it easier to solve business problems. This is also the essence of great time management. Once compartmentalized, we simply decide what we will do, both short-term and long-term, to resolve each issue.
To solve business problems, we must get good at prioritizing and sorting out the pile first. Take each issue and decide. Is this urgent, needing to be resolved now - within the week? If not, when are we dealing with it? Do we put it on our short-term, weekly meeting issues list so we can solve it in one of our weekly meetings, or do we put it on our long-term, V/TO issues list so we can address it in a future annual or quarterly meeting with our team? In one of those long-term planning meetings, we take the list and decide which issues will become our most important goals for the year, which will become our critical priorities for the next quarter, which will be resolved in that meeting and which will just stay on the long-term issues list to be addressed another day.
If you're stuck under a big pile of business problems, start compartmentalizing. It's the fastest and best way to get moving again.