No More Bobblehead Prioritizing!

September 3, 2007

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This one time … no, not at band camp. I worked with a colleague who was so notorious for dropping the ball on follow-up, that it actually become an inside joke between us.

Here’s how it would typically play out. We’d be at a business lunch, and we’d get to the “down to business” part.

We’d discus a topic, and it would come time to assign tasks. Whenever “Forgetful Fred” was assigned a task, without fail, he would always shake his head in agreement, but NEVER WROTE IT DOWN.

Of course, the rest of my colleagues and I eventually caught on that if we didn’t see Forgetful Fred “capture” the task by writing it down, there was a good chance it wasn’t ever going to get done.

I call this bobblehead prioritization. Because whenever I see someone (or catch myself) get assigned a tasks, shake in agreement, but not write it down … it seems just as silly as watching a bobblehead shake its head around. It’s actually just as productive too.

So how do you keep from bobblehead prioritizing?

First, act as if your memory is the absolute worst, and your life depends on capturing all your tasks somewhere other than your head. For many of us, that’s not much of a stretch.

Second, show up to a meetings prepared. Always take a notepad and pen (PDA or laptop if applicable) to capture action items.

Third, if you’re out and about when you think of something you need to do, use your cell phone to call or email yourself the task.

Finally, have the person requesting the task send you an email detailing the next steps.

So remember, no more bobblehead prioritization! Your boss, colleagues, and significant others will thank you dearly.

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