Leftovers: How to Manage Them in Your Business

The Thanksgiving leftovers! My fridge’s full of them. Turkey, potatoes (cheesy and sweet), green beans, stuffing, apple cobbler.

The business leftovers! Our offices are full of them. Annual goals, quarterly Rocks, weekly To-Dos, and Issues.

What to do with the food? The clock’s ticking and it’s not getting any fresher.

What to do with the business leftovers? The clock’s ticking and they’re not getting any less overwhelming.

The solution’s the same for both sets of leftovers:

  1. Put them in smaller containers
  2. Plan to eat/complete some this week
  3. Freeze the rest

Compartmentalizing Your Business

Great entrepreneurial leadership teams don’t let their business leftovers overwhelm them. Instead, they compartmentalize them into four different-sized containers:

  1. The 1-Year container is for your three to seven annual goals. And that half or full beef you bought from a Nebraska rancher and packed carefully in your deep freeze.
  2. The 90-Day container is for your three to seven quarterly priorities, or Rocks. You might freeze your turkey carcass to make turkey-carcass soup later. (Yum!)
  3. The 7-Day container is for To-Dos you can complete in the next week. And the refrigerated ingredients for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise sandwiches.
  4. The Issues container is for unresolved problems, issues, and opportunities you must address—but probably not today. Honestly, despite your best efforts, some of your leftovers will become Issues when they start getting green and fuzzy.

(This whiteboard explainer video illustrates the above in 2:46—or 1:23 if you play it at double speed!)

Keep Your Food Safe and Your Self Sane

So it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, the fridge is still full, and the business year’s almost over. Don’t get overwhelmed; compartmentalize. For holiday and business leftovers, remember:

  1. Put them in smaller containers
  2. Plan to eat/complete some this week
  3. Freeze the rest

And hey, be thankful!