Discourse and Improvisation ON Entrepreneurship And…

February 22, 2007

FIFO and LIFO

Filed under: It's just business — dionea @ 1:48 am

I’ve been flailing. So completely overwhelmed by the stack of stuff to get done, I haven’t been able to push myself to do much of any of it. Rather than stepping back or stepping away, I feed the cycle: longer hours trying to work, longer hours getting even less accomplished. Meanwhile the stack just continues to grow.

Although I’d like to say I’m a devotee to GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done),  I find his mechanical prescriptions unworkable for me. What generally does work is translucent color plastic folders, variable in number and contents, one per each current project, topic, or activity, stacked on the corner of my desk. Ideally those folders should only contain current working projects. Not shelved, dead, or completed ones. Similarly I use email folders, also variable in category and contents, to store copies of related project emails.

The reality is I have trouble decreeing a project done, dead, or nearly dead. So that stack of colored folders grew and grew until it was about 8 inches of pure psychic burden. The email stacks also grew, as I peeled off the top-most in a LIFO fashion (Last In First Out), and could never dig my way to the bottom.

So I stopped. I stopped responding to almost everything, and put an added delay in to what I absolutely had to respond to. And I flipped the stack, and started tackling it from the bottom up (First In First Out).  That 8 inches is now less than an inch. And, much to my amazement and surprise, there were only about three notes to self on opportunities I may have sat too long on, most everything else could be filed or tossed.

Just as importantly we took time today for a strategy and planning meeting, which help reset my sights a bit further down the road. I know I was focused on the space right in front of my feet.

Is it enough? We’ll see. For the moment I at least feel better about where were headed and how I’m going to be able to get there.  And I have a nice surplus of translucent colored plastic folders.

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