Obstacle Busting

It’s that time of year again . . . when you look back and evaluate what you’ve accomplished this year – as you plan for doing even more next year. What about the ‘stuff’ still on your to do list that’s not done yet? Earlier this year, I came across something that helped me with my ‘no start’ list of projects. I offer this to you to get you started, get ‘it’ out of your head and off your list.

Obstacle Busting is a concept that Mary Byers, CAE, presented as part of her Association Genius Seminar series. It’s a simple 10-minute planning process that uses a fillable form. I’m cramming the one hour session into this blog post. Bottom Line: It’s easy (I’ve used it) and it works! Pick something that you’re not sure how to start, where to start, etc. Set a timer for 10 minutes and then go!

There are 5 parts. A few are ‘gimmes’ . . . like the first one.

  • Name of Project: This won’t take you any time at all! You’ve got 9:50 left.
  • Desired Outcome: You know what you want to happen . . . write it down and make it REAL! This hasn’t been the issue – HOW TO GET THERE has been. I’ll give you 30 seconds for this. You still have 90% of your time left!
  • What Does Your Outcome Look Like? This a simple list – off the top of your head, identify what success will look like. Don’t over think it, just jot down what will happen when you’re successful. Maybe 1 minute here . . . still 8 minutes left – see how productive you are already?!? 60% through the form with only 20% of the time gone!
  • Obstacles: Here’s where you identify the stuff that’s in your head, on your plate and in your way. Write down why you’ve not gotten around to this project, why you don’t think it will work, why you KNOW it won’t work and name everything you can think of. Putting these ‘negative thoughts’ on paper is far less scary than keeping it in your head. There are only 5 spaces – and they’re small – so how bad can it really be?? Seeing it in writing makes it manageable. Allow yourself 3-4 minutes for this part.
  • Strategies: Break down some simple steps to help you get started. ‘Brainstorm’ – with yourself. The timer is running down so jot down anything that comes to mind to help achieve your outcome. No matter what stage of the project, no matter what else it takes, just write it down.

60 seconds and counting . . . Name the Next Step – just one! Pick one strategy that will get this project moving and do it! Make that phone call, send that email, ask Google . . . whatever it is, identify one thing to move forward.

That’s it! Time’s up – and you have an outline right in front of you that makes the insurmountable just one more thing on your to do list. Sorry about that . . . should have had a disclaimer at the beginning that this will add ONE thing to your to do list. But it’s now a manageable item instead of this hulking project on the side of your desk, buried in your briefcase, lost in the myriad of emails you get every day. You’ve just busted your obstacle and have an outline on how to accomplish something that’s been sitting around for a while. And the sooner you do it, the sooner you can delete it or scratch it off the list and move on. . .

You’re welcome! Actually, you need to thank Mary Byers, CAE, not me. I’ve attached the form, so download it and get started!