Definition: Systematically approaches an issue or question

Relates to: Generate Data-Driven Insight


  1. Understand your assumptions before approaching an issue or question.
  2. Look at problems from multiple perspectives or, better yet, engage multiple perspectives. Look at processes from a customer, supplier and other stakeholder perspectives as well as your own. 
  3. Know how long your activities take; use that knowledge to set goals for specific time periods (e.g., two staff meetings in a day).
  4. Become more conscious of what you are doing. To get the same understanding of your own work or productivity, keep a time log for a full week so you also capture the weekend — that’s when people tend to be less conscious of what they’re doing.
  5. Being more conscious with your work time is to plan out your hours; have a planning session at least once a week or a big one weekly and then smaller ones as projects get finished (i.e., if you want to make time for strategic thinking but you are “just too busy,” schedule the time).
  6. You are more likely to reach your dreams as long as you set discrete, doable tasks for yourself — and then make sure you’re held accountable. First, break down big projects into small steps and try to limit yourself to tackling three to six a day.
  7. Remember checking email is not the same thing as doing “work.”
  8. Regularly review your workload for what can be more efficiently delegated, done at a different standard or dropped.
  9. Understand when "good enough is good enough." Don't work at a higher standard than the work requires - save that time and energy for what must be done at the highest standard.
  10. Look for bottlenecks and other holdups in procedures and reduce or eliminate them. 


Laura Vanderkam, What the Most Successful People Do at Work (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2013), 60.

"How to Become More Efficient and Detail-Orientated at Work." Lisa McQuerrey.