Photo by Horia Varian

Over the last few posts, I’ve shared some reflections on managing the complexity that seems to creep up on us. We set new initiatives in motion, often exceeding our resources. We ignore the competition for our time from work, home, community. And, if we are used to succeeding and meeting our commitments, we might simply keep moving rather than stop for a look at the reality we have created.

When I clearly looked at what I have put on my plate, I struggled with taking anything off. How could I back away from something that is already underway? What about the things I really want to do that take significant time and financial resources? I found myself somewhat locked down in my attempt to triage my commitments.

I am developed these nine questions to assist my triage work. If your world is further complicated by bosses and others who assign you work— try the questions out anyway—you may find an insight or new path.

  1. Who decided to initiative this project, activity, etc.?
  2. Why did I decide to commit myself (i.e., purpose)?
  3. What did I want as an outcome (i.e., result) and do I still want it?
  4. What must I invest in “hard” resources (e.g., staff, financial, etc.)?
  5. What must I invest in “soft” resources (e.g., time, etc.)?
  6. In what way does the “doing” use my unique talent (e.g., knowledge, skills, ability, etc.)
  7. To what degree am I passionate about the work?
  8. Is there another way to achieve the outcome, in part of fully?
  9. What are the consequences of de-commiting?

The combination of 6 and 7 represent the “joy factor” for me. Sometimes I want to do the work simply because I en-joy the work—regardless of the investment. I see this all the time with my clients. They might not say the word joy, but eliminating an initiative might be illusive simply because they want to stay committed.

I made three decisions on three very time-consuming initiatives: Fully commit, shrink the investment into a different more manageable form, and “hold” for future consideration.

I’ve attached my Nine Questions for Triage Assist spreadsheet for you if you like these questions and need to lay it out to “see.”

Tell me what you find or comment below.