Hiding in Complexity

I have this problem. I procrastinate. Not all the time, but often. The thing is you wouldn’t notice it just by watching me. I always appear to be busy. The problem is I often hide in complexity.

The best example I can come up with is when it comes to sales. I know the best way to make sales is to simply reach out to someone, whether that is a phone call, an e-mail or LinkedIn message. It’s simple, yet hard to do. It is much easier for me to waste a whole week coming up with the perfect database for tracking who I should call and how often and logging all the results. Conquering all that complexity feels like I have accomplished something. Unfortunately at the end of the week I have made zero phone calls and sold nothing. You might say “Well you thought ahead and now that you have a system, things should work better.” Unfortunately, I just find ways to improve the system in order to continue to avoid making phone calls.

It’s not just sales, but I see this pattern in other areas of my life as well. If you look you might too. I often see it when coding. Often on a project, there are a few small parts of the code that really move the ball forward. However, we often get sucked into the weeds over unimportant details. We waste a bunch of time writing a super robust logging routine instead of tackling the algorithm at the heart of our project. Or at a project management level we spend a ton of time customizing Jira to get the workflow just right when simple post-it notes would do the job.

Where do you find yourself hiding in complexity? What are you avoiding?

2 Comments on “Hiding in Complexity

  1. For me it’s moving forward with my skills. I’ve reached a comfortable level with LabVIEW and I want to be an ‘expert’ at something. I just don’t know which area to focus on. TestStand, DQMH, making a VI package (of what I don’t know). There are so many things to choose from I end up doing not very much. I also suffer from sales-procrastination like you!

    • Glad you liked the article Malcolm. Yes sales can be hard. I have no real advice there. When it comes to being an expert, I suggest taking a step back and looking at what you are already doing. You probably already are the expert in one area, you are just too close to the problem. Because you do that thing every day you probably don’t think of yourself as an expert in it, because it seems so mundane. You can also ask around, what are you known for? and what do people constantly come to you to ask for advice on? You just might already be an expert in those areas. You don’t always have to learn something new to become an expert.

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