Grinding through Issues-3 Key Strategies

The term grinder is often used when talking about baseball.  Teams that are known as "grinders" are not the most attractive, they may not have the most talent, and they may not be flashy.  Grinders are teams that get through things by paying close attention to the details and doing what needs to be done to get to the finish line.

Many of us need to grind through issues in our everyday work.  No one really enjoys the grind, but without a few basic tools and behaviors you may find that your journey to success is not as quick, nor is it as complete, as those who know how to handle the grind.  Just how do you get through things?

Here are the three key things I consider when needing to grind through a series of challenges or issues:

  • What is the most important thing in order to meet your needs?
  • How much time do you have?
  • What do you need to stop doing in order to make sure you get the important things done?

Covey had a very simple model that he employed many years ago that shows issues that are important versus issues that are urgent.  He broke things down in to four quadrants:

  1. Urgent and Important
  2. Urgent, but not Important
  3. Important, but not Urgent
  4. Neither Urgent or Important

It seems rather obvious to see that line 4, neither urgent or important, is the area to move away from.  We all have issues that arise that are neither of these, but we often let them clog the arteries of progress in our lives.  The first thing is to understand these issues and get them out of your way.

Line 1 is also very important.  Issues that are urgent and important need to be addressed now and done so as quickly as possible.  The urgency may be personal or it may be something that is critical to meet a client demand.  Knowing what is urgent and important will help you move these items to the top of the list.

Line 2 is the one I often have issues with.  Urgent issues, things that need to be done soon, often get in the way of things that are important, but not as time sensitive.  Focusing on non-important but urgent issues can be a big way to spend time needlessly.  Always focus on important issues first.

LIne 3 falls in line right after line 1 even though they are not in that order on this list.  Always focus on important issues first and keep the urgent, but less critical things on the sideline initially.  Again, importance can be measured in many ways and client needs typically are the driving force in this assessment.  

Grinding through issues can be painful, but knowing what is important is the most critical function in order to get to the level of success you seek.

Don't let urgency get in the way-focus on importance first.