Big picture little picture

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons)

I am a detail person. It is easy for me to get so caught up in the minute details that I lose sight of the larger scope of what we are doing as well as the “why.”

It can become more about checking things off a task list than making progress on a project. I get stuck so far down in the weeds that I don’t even realize there’s a higher purpose for the work.

When I’m focused only on the details, my list tends to grow exponentially, and each task feels like a separate entity, all screaming for my attention. They become disjointed chores and weigh me down. Then the funny thing is that there is no sense of satisfaction or accomplishment at finishing because they have become just a string of things to do, unrelated to any ultimate goal.

When I stay focused on the big picture and the mission, then all the details become steps along the way to accomplishing something greater. When I keep the emphasis on “WHY” we’re doing what we do, then the pieces start to fall into place more easily. Suddenly it isn’t about me and my task list, it’s about impacting others and improving their lives.

At the nonprofit where I work, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the mountain of things that need to be taken care of, but when we remember that we are saving and improving lives by helping people in crisis, then what we need to get done becomes clear. It’s important to help my team understand the “why” as well, so that we are all pulling together to work toward the same goal.

How can you focus more on the “why” of your work?

3 thoughts on “Big picture little picture

  1. Hi Carol,
    Such a good point about keeping an eye on the bigger picture. As one who keeps detailed checklists, it’s easy to get lost in the details.
    Thank you,

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