Monthly 10 Minute Challenge - January 2015
[Note from Mitch: Since it is a new year, I am starting a new series here on softuary.net. This new series will have one post per month and is aimed at spending a maximum of 10 minutes to perform an exercise that will better you as a leader. I call it the Monthly 10 Minute Challenge.]
It is important for me to keep a clean and uncluttered kitchen. My wife and I cook a lot and having things spotless and organized greatly increases the efficiency and enjoyment of the time we spend in the kitchen. Each item has its proper place that is intentionally chosen based upon when it's needed and how it's used.
Despite this apparent order, there is a hidden area of chaos in my kitchen. I call this unorganized mess my "junk drawer".
This drawer is the place that contains a lot of the "stuff" that I cannot or will not organize. These things defy my organizational system for some reason. In fact, I try hard to keep these items out of sight when I'm in my kitchen (that's why it is a closable junk drawer and not a box or bowl). I have had a junk drawer in every house I've ever lived in. Perhaps this problem only affects me, but I doubt it. In fact, I know that my parents and other family members have one as well. Come on, be honest, do you have a place like this where you live? Perhaps in a closet, hallway, or an office?
Now think about your professional life. You have a goal to create or maintain a high performance organization, full of happy, healthy productive employees. Sometimes you feel like you're achieving this goal, and sometimes you feel that it is an impossible mission. Do you spend equal time on all aspects of your operation or business? Do you have a metaphorical "junk drawer" that you ignore? Which messy area do you repeatedly not clean up, organize or improve?
For example, perhaps you are strong with your customers but you neglect the monthly finances. Or you are great with handling operational emergencies, but you ignore all the pending HR tasks that are piling up.
For January's 10 Minute Challenge, I challenge you to sit down and think through your operation. Mentally go through your daily, weekly and monthly routines. What aspects do you say you will handle but never do? Which tasks do you repeatedly delay or postpone?
Instructions (to be done in 10 minutes or less):
- List our each "junk drawer" area that you are ignoring or hiding
- (If you have multiple areas,) prioritize them by risk (by risk, I mean what is the probability that something bad will happen because the area is not getting proper attention)
Remember, today's challenge is not about fixing these areas or doing anything special with them. The purpose of the exercise is to make yourself accountable by recognizing that they exist.
Take care, and I'll talk to you next time.