Why You Need An Issues List

Life as a business operator’ is noisy and a big contributor to that noise is problems.

Complaints from customers, team struggles, missing uniforms, processes not being appropriately followed – problems in business are unavoidably everywhere.

As an operator, I’ve found that noise hard to contend with.

All these issues need dealing with, but I often don’t have enough capacity.

Even entertaining this stuff is distracting and puts me in a reactive frame of mind rather than the proactive one I need to be in. It takes me away from the things I need to concentrate on to keep up my end of the bargain as the operator with my team.

When I first got into this game, these issues used to go in one ear and out the other. That approach didn’t work for long. I never addressed anything, and it pissed everyone off.

After reading the book Getting things done, I realised I needed to adopt to-do lists, so I compiled all the problems I came across into a to-do list.

I went from forgetting or ignoring almost everything to sprinting through these lists.

The people I worked with and my customers were happy, but I’d gone from one extreme to the other. I soon realised that these problems never stop coming. I was the hampster on the Ferris wheel, getting nowhere fast.

I went full reactive, and everything else suffered – I started dropping the stuff I should have been doing as the business manager, i.e. working on the business. I was too busy trying to get to the bottom of my endless list.

So that approach didn’t work either. But sitting here today, I think I’ve found one that does.

Whenever a problem pops up, I jot it down on my issues list.

And that is where those problems stay until I’ve got time to deal with them. I make sure I get all my core jobs done first.

The magic of this approach is that by the time I get to my issues list, many of them are redundant or someone else has dealt with them.

Only the issues that really matter – the stuff that deserves my attention survive long enough to make it to my to-do list.

Now I don’t let people down, I’m not working reactively, and the important stuff always gets addressed.

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