Close The Loop
Many people have a tendency to move on from one thing to another very quickly. Part of it might be that we lose interest in things and reroute our attention to something else. Another angle is the pressure we feel (whether that be self-imposed or societal) to always be doing something, so we jump on new things when we come up. Moving fast is great but it’s important that it doesn’t come at the expense of the other things you’ve committed to completing. That’s where the concept of “closing the loop” comes in.
You close the loop when there are outstanding pieces that need to be addressed in a project or task. It usually refers to the end of the cycle where you only have the very last things to do, the final 1% that needs to be finished. From a productivity standpoint, you need to consider the mental bandwidth. You are weighed down by knowing that there are still small things left to do. As simple as they might be to complete, they take up a disproportionate amount of emotional energy and act more like an anchor that slows you down simply because it is still incomplete.
From a value-generation standpoint, closing the loop is important because of the opportunities that comes up when you finish. Oftentimes it’s inappropriate for people to talk about new ideas, tasks or projects while the one you’ve already committed to is still pending. Upon completion you can explore what else might be next and ways that your team might want to expand on what was already done. However you can’t have that conversation until the task is behind you, so closing the loop and engaging all parties about the project’s completion will enable more of that creative energy.
It may go against some of the forces you feel, but close the loop and you’ll find that you can be more productive and add more value overall. Are there any conversations, tasks, or commitments looming on your mind you need to address? Maybe it’s time to do it!