Issues, To-Do’s, and Rocks…Oh My!

Issues, rocks, to do sticky notes

To help you manage the complexity of your business and all of the “stuff” going on, I highly recommend the discipline of choosing only one of three options for any problem, idea, commitment, or opportunity, i.e., “stuff.”

Mastering the art of compartmentalizing will help you free up energy and time for yourself, your team, and your company – while maximizing your efficiency and productivity. You’ll execute better, become more efficient, and FOCUS your team’s energy.

Issues, To-Do’s, and Rocks: Understanding the Difference

Let’s assume you have your One-Year Plan and Goals firmly in place. As you now execute throughout the year and deal with all the “stuff” together with your leadership team, make a quick decision as each item comes up as to whether it’s an Issue, a To-Do, or a Rock.

  1. An Issue is any unresolved problem, idea, or opportunity. An issue falls into two categories: long-term and short-term. If it’s long-term (meaning it does not have to be solved this quarter), put it on the V/TO™ parking lot issues list and get it out of your consciousness to help free up your mind. If it’s short-term (meaning it must get solved this quarter), put it on your weekly leadership team Level 10 Meeting™ issues list.
  2. A To-Do is anything anyone commits to on the leadership team that must get done in the next seven days (worst case 14 days). Always track your to-dos on your Level 10 Meeting agenda and confirm they are completed in the following week’s meeting.
  3. A Rock is a priority that will take more than 14 days and must get done this quarter. As a rule of thumb, the company and each person should only have three to seven Rocks. Less is more. If you’re having trouble figuring out if something is a Rock, read this article.

Compartmentalizing Your Business

Practicing the art of compartmentalizing will help you and your team get a picture of WHAT needs to get done, WHEN It needs to get done, and HOW much of a priority it is. Watch this video to understand how to manage your endless list of “stuff” that needs to get done every day:

Compartmentalizing will help you manage all the “stuff” and eliminate all of the other lists in your organization. It will provide a simple system that every leader can follow. Once you master this at the leadership team level, then have each department live by the same system. As an organization, you’ll become more focused on solving the most important issues facing you each day, which will help you reach your goals more quickly.

This post originally appeared on the EOS Worldwide Blog on August 13, 2012.

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