The Importance of Organization
Fools rush in…
It’s easy to want to rush things when creating something new. The excitement and the passion of what is coming next and the goals I want to accomplish can be overwhelming and powerfully driving forces. Every fiber of my being wants to dive headlong into the process and try to immediately tackle the goals and product the final outcome. I want to see the vision that I have for the project; and I want to see that vision a reality immediately.
This is where I usually see my first warning light. You know those annoying little alerts that pop up on the dashboard of your car? The little light that tries to tell you to be aware of something potentially problematic with your car … like running out of gas. When I’m on a project these warning lights come up as well. Only they aren’t always as easy to spot as a low-fuel alert. Warning lights when a project is starting may be far more subtle and sometimes they can be missed altogether. But that doesn’t make them any less important. Here’s the first warning light.
Warning Light: Do you have a plan?
This first light pops up almost immediately upon having a great idea. It might be merely a “nagging” internally or it may be a question raised by someone else on the team. What’s the plan? The cool new idea can be infatuating and all-consuming but sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether this passion is because the idea is truly great; or just because it’s something different. I hate this light. I want to jump on my idea and chase it down. I want to solve problems and find solutions. I don’t want to stop and try to organize a plan to cover each step along the way.
Warning Light: What’s the purpose?
The second light I often get is in regards to the purpose. Why are you doing what you do? Is there a problem you’re trying to solve. More than likely the answer to that question is always yes. The real question is how many other people are facing the same problem. Are you creating a problem just to provide a solution? I love solving problems and sometimes I forget I should focus on the purpose. I’m not doing what I do because it’s interesting or provides an outlet for my creativity or problem-solving. My purpose needs to be bigger than that. This warning light reminds me to go back and examine my why a very important part of the big picture.
Warning Light: What’s the cost?
The last warning light I’ll mention is the question regarding the cost of the development. No, nothing is free. There is no idea or business you will be able to build of any substance that does not require some investment and does not cost you something. I’m notorious for minimizing costs when they are not related directly to monetary expense-but the cost of time and energy is a very real expense. When I’m working on a new idea or building a new product one of the things that I want to gloss over the quickest is the cost of the development. In my mind, the costs can all be justified and offset with the eventual success of the final product.
And so we come full circle back to the premise of my post. All these warning lights point to a single and very valuable lesson — organization is critical to success. Each of these warning lights points to some facet of organizational methodology. When I’m working on a new project or a new idea these points help me to build out a proper plan. Creating a plan. Defining a purpose. Counting the cost. By focusing on these three areas I am able to take a moment and properly evaluate the eventual success (or failure) of an idea.
Granted I fail to heed the warning lights and sometimes I’m left holding my breath and hoping I can coast successfully into the next service station; but ultimately heeding these warning lights has proven to help me focus my time and attention on the right projects. Life is just as exciting and fast-paced but it’s a bit more organized and the risk is more manageable.