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Make a Plan. Work the Plan: Bottleneck Edition

Something will inevitably bubble to the top as being THE thing blocking you from having your best week—so let’s get on top of it.

1.      Identify the Most Likely Culprit: What is your bottleneck going to be? This crazy heat wave? Your coworker who’s on vacation? Your coworker who’s not on vacation? (yeah, I said it.) Running short on funds? Broken machinery? A lost delivery? A fickle client?

2.      Streamline Processes: Once you identify the likely bottleneck, focus on eliminating unnecessary activities related to it. Cancel unnecessary meetings? Reschedule less important activities? Right-size expectations (ditch the gold-plating)? Automate where you can? Make one phone call instead of multiple emails?

3.      Increase Capacity at the Bottleneck: Add resources such as equipment, personnel, or time to the bottleneck. Reschedule your strongest worker to the bottleneck operation? Give that eager summer intern a chance? Drag out an old piece of equipment that could do some of the work? Outsource to a subcontractor? Offer overtime? Pay for expediting?

4.      Balance the Workload: In the longer run, you may need to make changes to redistribute tasks more evenly. Shift tasks from the bottleneck to other business units? Permanently reassign workers? Buy new machinery? Contract with a specialized vendor? Increase headcount? Implement training? Redesign the entire process?

5.      Just Do It: Make a plan. Work the plan. Nothing gets done if you don’t actually DO it. Go. Scoot.


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