What you don’t see won’t hurt you

to do list.jpg

Most small business owners have so many great ideas for the business, and so many things call for effort and attention, that our To Do list keeps growing and growing. After a while it becomes painful just thinking about what needs to be done, because each solution requires another solution (or two or three) to be done beforehand.  To cope, many owners stop collecting To Dos and simply begin responding to what is happening right in front of them. They stop looking around for opportunities to improve and keep their eyes focused straight ahead. It’s a normal response to overload, yet…

Drivers in New England are also faced with difficult conditions – minimal signage, narrow winding roads, and too many vehicles. It can be extremely frustrating to attempt a left turn onto most congested roadways.

Some drivers have developed a technique to accomplish this difficult task. They simply allow their vehicle to slowly drift forward into the incoming lane while looking in the opposite direction at traffic in the far lane. Eventually some poor soul comes to a screeching halt since a vehicle is blocking his or her forward progress. The vehicle continues to drift forward until an opening emerges in the far lane or a vehicle is forced to stop there as well. The key to success in this maneuver is not to make eye contact with either driver – they simply look where they are going and avoid seeing the pending disaster, so it doesn’t occur. At least that’s the hope!

If you are in this type of situation, here are two things that might help:


First, you can alleviate the pressure you are feeling and enable yourself to capture those great ideas without them becoming a burden.

Second, you can identify and tackle those projects first which will help most over the long run.

It takes some practice to shift your thinking – yet soon you will be able to think more clearly and better meet the needs of your business before they become a burden. Here’s how to begin:

Actions you can take today

  1. Start a Perhaps List. This is a sheet of paper in your organizer or document in your computer where you capture all the possibilities for business improvement. Hint: most people can take their entire To Do List and convert it to a Perhaps List. Whip out this list whenever you have an “I or we should…” thought and write it down. Always.
  2. At the beginning of each week ask yourself: “What 1-2 things could I accomplish this week that would have the greatest impact on my success and my business’ success?” Look over your Perhaps List. Transfer, at most, 2 items to your To Do list for the week. Make sure you can accomplish them in the week – break them down into smaller tasks if necessary. If you accomplish these items then add another. Start small and before long you’ll have a powerful ability to focus on what makes a real difference!

Could you be avoiding what might hit your business?

But what you don’t see won’t hurt you – right?

Are you overwhelmed by your To Do List?

chris hutchinson, CEO

chris hutchinson, CEO


Chris Hutchinson

As CEO of Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson thrives working with clients and his team to improve organizational clarity, teamwork, and leadership impact.

After years of building Legos® and tree houses around the world, Chris earned his Mechanical Engineering degree and followed that with an MBA. His experiences in the military and the business world taught him great leadership can be learned, and everyone is in some way a leader.

Clients and peers describe him as an inspirational catalyst for positive change. He is the author of Ripple - A Field Manual for Leadership That Works.

Chris and his wife live, garden, and bike in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have four children. He has an unrequited love affair with brownies.