The wheels fall off when we move too fast.
Speed isn’t the actual issue. There are many wonderful benefits that come with speed. The faster you are to market, the quicker you can sell and recoup your development costs. The quicker you write the introduction, the faster you build momentum for the body. The speedier you handle a difficult situation, the less time wasted worrying about it.
The issue is we are overconfident and underestimating. Confidence and optimism often go hand-in-hand to derail well-intentioned efforts.
Even amongst the world-renowned consulting firms, it’s practically an unspoken agreement projects will go over budget and past timelines. Yet, that’s what we aim to avoid through project management tools, lean and agile processes, and pre-planned budgets.
There is rarely malicious intent that leads to these failures. Rather, it’s the belief in having a complete understanding of the project, the needs, and the ability to execute according to the parameters.
We chronically underestimate. The symptoms can be viewed as good, bad, or indifferent: (over)confidence, inexperience, poor planning, optimism, the drive of a challenge, striving for acknowledgement.
The cure is to move uncomfortably slow.
When you move slowly, you give space to think, you can build systems that allow for methodical effectiveness and efficiency, and have room for buffer.
Space to Think
We are not programmed to effectively think and act in unison. We can be in planning mode. We can be in action mode. Our minds don’t shift between the two exceptionally well. In any new endeavor, we need to continually think, strategize, and recalibrate. Ample space to think — more than we estimate — will allow you to think, act, recalibrate, and move forward.
Give way for meaningful thought. The pause is required to identify the subsequent actions that will bring remarkable advances.
Systems to Build
Work hard today so you may be lazy tomorrow. Building systems is about developing a methodology to what you do that is repeatable and reliable. It is the only way to build a business and represents the entrepreneur’s transition from creating a job to creating a company.
For myself, I optimize for control-of and flexibility-in my time. My meaningful work and contributions require a certain state of mind and energy that I cannot always command. Not all of my work is meaningful. Some is mundane and can be done any time.
Build systems to alleviate ongoing burdens of the mundane so when meaningful opportunities arise, you can tackle them.
Room for Buffer
Buffer time is a necessity to combat our mind shifts, unexpected surprises, changing plans, underestimations, and expanding methodologies. You’re not only going to underestimate the project, you’ll underestimate the time needed for careful thought and developing systems.
As a bonus, unrealized buffer time translates to earlier completion.
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Success requires starting uncomfortably slow. Aim for less output than you think you can achieve but use the additional time for thinking and building a system around your methodology. Do what you do with excellence. Choose quality over quantity.
Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.