Wood for the trees

Details Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00 Written by Gordon McWilliam — Communications Coordinator

Have you ever felt that you have become so focussed on doing a single task that you lose sight of the bigger picture? We often call this not being able to see the wood for the trees.

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ it is an old English term coined by John Haywood that literally means ‘to be unable to understand a situation clearly because you are too involved in it’.

Much like a natural phenomenon known as Troxler’s fading. If you stare at a particular point, even for a short period of time, details around the fixed point begin to disappear.

Try it; stare at the tree in the centre of the image. After a few seconds you may notice the trees surrounding begin to disappear.

A similar thing happens when we are at work, whereby if we spend too much time on the finer details of a project we often forgot about the bigger picture, aka the WHY.

I’m a self-confessed perfectionist (or fusspot as my colleagues would say), and I used to quite often fallen victim to not being able to see the wood for the trees, however here are my top tips on ways to step back and admire the wood.

  1. Make a Plan and stick to it
  2. Do a single task in detail and come back out to your plan
  3. Give Yourself a Set Time Period, Set goals and deadlines
  4. Learn to say no
  5. Only do what only you can do, get support and delegate
  6. Recognize accomplishments
  7. Keep up the positive attitude

So why not give it a try, follow these guidelines and see the wood for the trees.


Originally published at phusionim.com.

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