If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but the other way around…

Results are great, especially when they are good. So why is it when things go our way we are so quick to abandon the method that got us there?


Results are great, especially when they are the results we want, expect and sometimes pay for. So why is it that when we are so delighted when things start going our way are we so quick to abandon the method that got us there?

Time and time again I hear from teams and individuals that when things get hectic at work they implement x or they start using y. Then the storm passes and they abandon the lifeboat that saved them and wade back into treacherous, unproductive waters … only to be surprised and unprepared when the waters turn choppy again.

Last week a sales team explained that when they have an important deadline involving a lot of extra work they take the time to create a weekly blueprint for the entire department so people can stay focussed and counteract stress during the potential madness. The whole team find it helpful and it provides a good awareness of what everyone else is working in and clears up any issues around deadlines. Collaboration improves and the team surpasses the goals they set out to achieve.
“What a great idea!” I cooed. “That’s an excellent way to stay productive” I extolled.

“Why do you only do this when you’re busy?” I asked.

*silence* they replied.

During a conversation on twitter I asked how people make work easy and stay productive when things start to pile up. As I sifted through the medley of answers that included kickboxing, hypnotherapy and a stream of time and e-mail management techniques I noticed a common thread emerging. An ever helpful twit-friend was telling how he used the pomodoro technique when he felt things beginning to slip into the realms of unproductivity.

“Why do you only do this when you’re busy?” I asked.
“If I could answer that- I’d be a millionaire by now” he replied.

Sustain producitivity and clarity

It’s peculiar. In amidst all the inconveniences of life travelling a hundred miles an hour; your inbox is full, deadlines are looming, the dog has decided to become a vegan… There’s so much going on and yet you make time to sort it all out, create a department-wide blueprint, try a new time management method etc. But when all the cogs are turning smoothly and we can afford to take a step back and assess our work process we ignore the methods that helped us through the hecticness. We regress to working without discipline and throw out any sort of framework that provided such stability and clarity.

Stressful times at work are inevitable, if we can make time to try something new and take stock of our time then why can’t we afford ourselves the same luxury when we actually have time to try it? If a method helps you through all the madness then imagine what it can do for you during the calmness…

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