December 14, 2017

How do you finish the unfinishable?

Depending on our background, certain kinds of tasks are easier to tackle than others because different types of work require different mindsets…

Smaller, more discrete tasks can be worked on until they’re finished. (Good to do the high priority ones first, but remember the low priority ones need to be done sometime.)

Exhausted computer userBigger, more amorphous but still bounded tasks need a time-based approach if we are to stay productive—work from morning until lunchtime and then from lunchtime till evening, for example, with appropriate breaks at intermediate times. Stick to a timing discipline like that, in our own shift system, and we can get through the biggest of labours.

All fairly familiar…

But what about the tasks which never end? Like websites, social media, reading, and so on. How can we best organise ourselves for them?

My experience is that the best way is to decide that between this time and that time, we will work on one of the endless themes, like a website, then in the next time slot, we will switch to another theme, and so on. Keep that pattern up and we make good progress and are freed from the burden of trying to finish the unfinishable.

So three kinds of work organisation then…

Task-based, shift-based and time-slot-based.

Worth thinking about which suits you and the task best.

How do you finish the unfinishable?

Does a close relationship help or hinder profit on a contract?

Group in discussion at a computerIt’s likely you’ll have an immediate response to that question. But is it actually so simple? And is your response the same as everyone else’s?

From the opposite perspective, we could equally ask, “Does a close relationship help or hinder cost-effective procurement?”

Again, there maybe isn’t a unanimous, clear-cut answer.

It is noticeable that when contracts get in difficulty, the parties tend to act as if being tough will maximise their outcome (or minimise their loss) and so they retreat from connection with the other party. They fear that building or rebuilding relationship with the other side will hurt their financial position, because they’ll then be obliged to concede.

But is that really the case?

It could be that working on the relationship is the very thing that enables them to achieve a more favourable outcome, especially if they are the ones taking the initiative, or even for both sides to succeed in their goals, perhaps by broadening the parameters of the conversation.

What do you think?

If things get difficult on a contract, are you better to go transactional and tough or to build bridges, or something else?