Sunday, September 9, 2012

Attacking BIG Problems

Some architects, this includes me, can be paralyzed by the sheer enormity of a problem and fall into bad spells of procrastination. Here are the (2) tools I use to break out of those terrible spells.

1. Do the easiest thing first. That way, you're always doing the easiest thing.

Find the easiest / most trivial / obvious thing that needs to be done and do it. Repeat until problem done. It's all about momentum. It's amazing how this approach can warm-up the brain cells and get you moving. I found this advice in my alumni magazine from a wise old engineer. In a way, the tip is a natural form of the problem solving method that was beat into us at Mines: break the problem into manageable pieces, then work them one at a time until you're done.

2. Stop working when things are going well and you know what needs to be done next.

Look for ideal stopping points before fatigue sets in at the end of the workday. Avoid staying late to finish work items. Strive to finish them first thing the next morning. Again, it's all about momentum. It's amazing how this approach positions you for great workdays. By the way, this advice comes straight from Ernest Hemingway (yes, the writer).