What to do when things get too busy

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 23rd June 2020

The Adapt team and I have been very lucky during this challenging time in lockdown as we have been able to successfully switch to high quality online delivery of our programs. Thank you to all our clients who have placed their trust in us to deliver great outcomes through our webcams!

However, we have noticed that things have become a lot more complicated during this time. Training delivery has lots of moving parts at the best of times, but in this online environment, there are far more moving parts to mange and keep an eye on. Our standard one-day Smart Work program is now a set of two webinars, run about a week apart. This means twice the logistics and twice the organisation required. Add to that the need to post workshop resources to the participants rather than just bring them on the day, the need to get them to do more pre-work, and the need to schedule the online activities into several systems, and things get very busy.

We had a chat about this as a team the other day. It turned out that we were so busy just managing these operational activities, we were not getting to some of the important project work we needed to. But if this COVID-19 situation has done one positive thing, it has made us more adaptable in the face of issues like this. So as a team we brainstormed what we could shrink, streamline, suspend or stop.


First, we reviewed the key processes in the business and worked out which ones we could shrink by eliminating unnecessary steps or deliverables. By reducing the scope of what we had to do, this freed up time to focus on the critical steps in the process. We found that there were a few steps in our process that were not critical, so we have stopped doing them (at least for the moment – we will revisit when things get back to normal).


Next, we looked at things that could be streamlined or simplified, so that they were quicker and easier to do. This was a big time-saver, as over time our processes had become a bit cumbersome without us realising it. We also looked for anything that could be automated, which has a leveraged impact on productivity.


Then we looked at any regular activities or tasks across our business that we could suspend for the moment. Just like how your brain stops the flow of blood to your fingers and toes when you are extremely cold so it can direct blood to your vital organs, we looked for any non-critical activities we could temporarily stop doing so we could focus on the business critical activities.


Finally, we asked ourselves if there were any activities being done that did not serve anymore and could be stopped permanently. This is so healthy to do from time to time, not just in times or extreme busyness. You would be surprised how many activities, including regular meetings, are done just because we have always done them. But our work and objectives evolve over time, and our activities may need to change to reflect this.

I am sure you are facing similar issues in your role. Everything is a bit harder than normal, a bit more complex than we are used to, and a bit more overwhelming. Why not make some time this week to talk to your team about the things you could shrink, streamline, suspend or stop?



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