Why can’t I get it finished?
Sometimes it feels like exhaustion and sometimes it feels like too much energy, and other times it actually feels like productivity but not on the important things.
That’s what procrastination feels like to me…I can’t exactly pin down when it’s happening but it happens around important things on my to do list.
This last week has been a struggle for me and I was employing all the time management strategies I knew and I still couldn’t get that nagging task off my list.
Why was nothing working?
Why was I procrastinating?
It was time to step back and put on my project manager hat and get to the root of this problem.
One thing I did often in my corporate life to get to the root of a problem was the “5 Whys” strategy.
What is the 5 Whys strategy?
The 5 Whys strategy is a simple and effective tool that can be used to identify the underlying cause of a problem. It involves asking “why” five times to drill down to the root cause of an issue. By doing this, you can gain a deeper understanding of the problem and develop solutions that address the root cause, rather than just treating the symptoms.
How to use it effectively
To use the 5 Whys strategy, follow these steps:
Step 1: Define the problem
The first step is to define the problem that needs to be addressed. This could be a technical issue, a process problem, or a customer complaint, for example.
Step 2: Ask “why?”
Ask “why?” to identify the cause of the problem. This answer should be recorded and used as the basis for the next “why” question.
Step 3: Repeat the process
Repeat the process by asking “why?” four more times. Each answer should lead to another “why” question until the root cause of the problem is identified.
Step 4: Address the root cause
Once the root cause of the problem has been identified, you can develop solutions that address the root cause, rather than just treating the symptoms.
My Example of how it works
Here’s what was happening. I am putting off writing my proposal for an organized membership program for career professionals in the provin
Step 1: Why was the project not finished on time?
Answer: Because I lost motivation and interest in the project.
Step 2: Why did I lose motivation and interest in the project?
Answer: Because I faced creative blocks and was unsure of how to proceed.
Step 3: Why did I face creative blocks and uncertainty about how to proceed?
Answer: Because I did too much research and planning before starting the project.
Step 4: Why did I do too much research and planning before starting the project?
Answer: Because I was looking for the right way to get started and complete the project
Step 5: Why was I looking for the right way to get started on the project?
Answer: Because had the belief that I didn’t know what I was doing or going to talk about and thought that I could find an answer somewhere out in the Google-verse.
Root Cause: The root cause of not finishing my project project on time was a false belief that I didn’t know what I was doing or talking about. If I had just gotten started on something, the rest of the information would have come together.
Solution: To address the root cause of the problem, I needed to change my mindset about my abilities and the importance of just getting started with what I already know. By doing so, I can ensure that I have something to anchor and base my project on and not rely on finding someone else’s answer. Getting started can prevent creative blocks, over-thinking, and loss of motivation. Additionally, I need to accept that creative projects are a combination of spontaneity and planning, and that successful execution requires a balance between the two. By implementing these changes, I can ensure that I finish these less than creative projects on time and achieve the desired outcome.
Benefits of the 5 Whys strategy
The 5 Whys strategy offers several benefits, including:
- Deeper understanding: By asking “why?” five times, you can gain a deeper understanding of the problem and the root cause.
- Cost-effective: The 5 Whys strategy is a cost-effective way to identify the root cause of a problem. It does not require expensive equipment or tools.
- Simple: The 5 Whys strategy is simple and easy to use. Anyone can use it, regardless of their level of experience.
- Collaborative: The 5 Whys strategy can be used in a group setting, encouraging collaboration and teamwork.
The 5 Whys strategy is a simple and effective tool that can be used to identify the root cause of a problem. By asking “why?” five times, you can gain a deeper understanding of the problem and develop solutions that address the root cause, rather than just treating the symptoms. The 5 Whys strategy is cost-effective, simple, and collaborative, making it a useful tool for anyone who needs to solve problems in their personal or professional life.
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