Many years ago, I was asked to run a large, highly visible, global project. I went to work. I built an advanced project schedule. I taught my team about critical path management. I built advanced tracking sheets in Excel to manage issues, risks, scope, and requirements. I even created dashboards and reports to share with the team and bring to my sponsors and stakeholders. At the time, there were no automation tools, so I did all this on my computer, and maintained complex version control standards.
My project failed. I failed. I firmly place the failure of the project on myself. I spent countless hours updating complex project schedules, Excel files, and reports, and never had time for the important meetings people needed me to attend.
I remember my manager constantly telling me, “Bill, you need to use the KISS method.” huh? “Keep It Simple, Stupid”, he would say, with a quirky smile.
Over time I have come to regularly ask myself “is this worth it?” or “should you be doing this?”. When I ask myself this question, and I mean really ask myself, I often realize the work should be delegated, left to do at a later time, or greatly simplified. As a matter of fact, this article was twice as long until I started editing it.
Gone are the days of staring at my computer from 6am to 9pm. Gone are the days where I feel angry at people that left earlier than me, or took long vacations (How dare they! We have important busy work to do!). This is because I streamlined my life to keep my sanity.
The next time you have too much work on your plate, or you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself if you are doing the right things and if you are doing them efficiently. If you ask yourself this simple question and act on it, maybe you too can K.Y.S. Keep Your Sanity.