How to Get on Top of Those Loose Threads
Let’s talk about the bane of my existence when it comes to not being able to effectively work through action items: Loose threads! They’re the worst. Loose threads are like that extra 8 – 10 lbs that you CAN’T get rid of (or seemingly so). But before we talk about the danger of incomplete action items and how to address them, let’s identify exactly what a “loose thread” is.
A “loose thread” is an action item that is related to any one of the following:
- A task you continue to put off for various reasons
- A task that is unreasonable in its demands and is unavoidably incomplete
- A task that is detached from any purpose or plan
- A task that won’t let another item complete itself until it’s completed
- Any or all of these could be associated with loose threads within your business that could pose serious risks down the line. At first it’s that one silly thank you you never sent and then it’s the stopping of your financial tracking but then the habit grows and grows. And so does the ball of loose threads. That ball can turn into a boulder of a problem and before you know it, you’re sunk.
Below are a list of probable causes for loose threads:
- Not knowing how to complete something
- Outside forces pulling you away (lack of funds, personal struggles, poor time management, etc.)
- Not having a plan to reference to guide your workflow and subsequent action items
So how do we avoid loose threads?
First, we have to identify what on our lists or within our plan is acting as a loose thread. Use the list above as a guide. Second, we have to assess its importance. For most of us, giving up on certain aspects of our lists can make us feel like failures but it’s very much the opposite. Getting rid of unnecessary items by either removing them from your list or completing them can finally make way for the rest of the work that you do understand and already embrace.
I can always tell when an item is a loose thread simply by how it feels. It’s separate from the annoyance of something like tracking expenses or necessary social media engagement.
It carries more unknowns that leave a feeling in the pit of my stomach that it shouldn’t be outstanding either because it doesn’t belong as part of my work or there isn’t a clear plan for getting rid of it.
It’s amazing to me how a handful of loose threads can turn you away from the work altogether. If this feels true to you, give yourself 30 minutes to work through and pull out those loose threads. From there, what’s the plan for removing (and potentially replacing) them or the plan for getting them done! No need to carry that extra weight around. It’s slowing down the rest of your system.
By Joshua Morgan for Artist’s Strategy.
Also by Artist’s Strategy: