Even in the most constrained circumstances, you have options. And having options is a good thing. If you get into a bind, there’s a way out.
Optimizing for options means that in your work and in your life, you try to ensure you have more options today than you did yesterday.
Sometimes it’s simply a matter of realizing you have options and thus freedom. If you know you can help others using a particular skill, for instance, it puts you in a position to take more personal risks. After all, you can always fall back on that alternative.
Having options is also nice when it comes to planning your work. It means you won’t easily get stuck. Setting a shadow deadline for yourself
– earlier than the real deadline – gives you options because you’ll have a little wiggle room if things don’t go as planned. That’s also true of that strategy to take on the uncertain aspects of a project first. Frontloading
the parts you’re unsure about (strategy #5 here
) means you’ll encounter any issues early on, when you still have time to adjust.
Another way to make sure you have options:
When you’re looking for answers, don’t hesitate to bring it up. That gives other people the opportunity to share their insight with you, which means what? Shiny new options. You can talk about your latest struggle when people ask,
Q: How’s it going?
A: It’s going great! I’m working on hiring 2 new interns. Having trouble finding really stellar candidates, though. You have any suggestions?
Doing the work of creating options can sometimes just feel like doing more work period. Considering new solutions, talking with more people, working harder.
But scrapping work can also create options. That’s because old familiar patterns and projects can keep you from finding new ones.
Sometimes it’s a matter of not having the time. And sometimes you’re simply so exhausted from your workload that you don’t have the mental bandwidth to even see new opportunities, let alone take them on.
So create some options for yourself this week:
- Realize that you likely have more options than you think. What can you fall back on?
- Set shadow deadlines for your projects and tackle any uncertain factors first
- Start sharing the questions you face with those around you, right at the start of the conversation
- Ask yourself what in your life right now is limiting your mental bandwidth. Is there something you should say goodbye to?
You’ll soon see you have more options than you thought.
Have a good week!