Concept Create Practice Tip: Conception under time pressure


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Text comes from: Konzepte ausarbeiten: Tools und Techniken für Pläne, Berichte, Bücher und Projekte (2004) by Dr. Sonja U. Klug, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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A good, sound one Concept helps us to structure our further course of action and is therefore the first step to success. Nevertheless, designing many people faces big problems, seems tedious and time consuming. How can you do better?

Concept Create Practice Tip: Conception under time pressure


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Dr. Sonja U. Klug 87Dr. Sonja U. Klug is one of the most distinguished experts in corporate books in the German-speaking world.

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Why one Concept Saves time

One problem that drives the beads of sweat on the forehead in view of the task of "making a concept" is the time required: To develop a strategy in theory step by step seems tedious and time-consuming to many. Most would rather get started right away.

What many ignore: A good concept takes you, especially in the team communication, a lot of work and thus saves in the execution much time and misunderstandings. It only has to be worked out accordingly.

Always these excuses

However, one often hears this excuse: “I have far too little time to develop and write a concept. This is a large amount of time-consuming work, and I can hardly do it - in addition to all my other work tasks. I would actually need more time. ”

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Having no time is a common problem in business today. Somehow there seems to be enough time for no work at all; everywhere the desks bend before work and the schedule books before appointments ...

More time is also not a solution

“More time” is not a solution, unless you limit exactly how much more time is necessary for you to develop your concept.

Every work takes (almost) as much time as you plan ahead! Get rid of yourself internally from unnecessary haste by defining and scheduling a realistic time horizon for the development of your concept.

Optimistic and relaxed by the time pressure

One trick that relieves your inner pressure: Instead of thinking "My concept is ready by Tuesday, March 31st", just turn the tables: "When my concept is ready, we have Tuesday, March 31st. ”

This sounds much more optimistic and relaxed, and it is also credible if one or another work step should last longer than planned.

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Timing during design

The two most important times when developing a concept are either to use too much or too little time for the individual work steps.

Whoever gives too much time to the conceptualization gets caught in the perfectionism trap, whoever spends too little time works “sloppyly”. Both are equally counterproductive. An overview that illustrates the differences:

The perfectionist wants to make everything 110% ig

The perfectionist strives for absolute completeness in the collection of all relevant information, even though the amount is almost infinite, especially in view of the omnipresent information overload and the work would never be finished, does not want to start without having “completely” gathered all the information.

He uses too much time to read and work through every single info, re-arranges all the information several times without having to go to a final order, lingers unnecessarily a lot of time with the final fine in the linguistic formulation of the concept or writes everything completely because he had too little thought about the structure of his material.

20% of the workload will bring 80% of the success

The dangers of perfectionism lie in the fact that they can be bogged down into secondary facts, overlooked the essence of things, or overlooked in the unessential - and last but not least, the lack of time: the concept is not finished in time, and if so, it is not optimal.

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The Pareto principle, which is also known as the 80: 20 rule: 20 percent of the workload already yield 80 percent of the success! Conversely, 80 percent of the time spent - precisely the part used for the perfection - only contribute to 20 percent of the success.

Tips against time loss

  • Therefore, concentrate on those 20 percent that will allow you to do most of the work, and minimize the amount of your work that perfects your work but will not significantly improve the end result.
  • Solve yourself from perfectionism by adopting exaggerated demands on the quality of your own work. It is enough that you do a good to very good job; the result does not have to be perfect.
  • If you develop a good concept with a reasonable amount of work, you save an enormous amount of time that you can invest more in other tasks.
  • Among other things, you can save time in concept development by distributing the work over several shoulders and delegating subtasks to others (colleagues, employees, etc.).

Beware of sloppiness

The downside of perfectionism is sloppiness - whether it is because of Aufschieberitis, real lack of time, or simply from surrender before the immense, immeasurably great work effort.

The dangers of sloppiness lie in an incomplete, worst-case, useless concept, which is diffuse or contradictory, leads to incorrect decisions, requires time-consuming improvements or finds the desired acceptance with the target group.

Typical errors in sloppy working

Who works superficially in the concept development,

  • starts too late with the individual work steps,
  • collects too little information,
  • reads the information only partially and not thoroughly enough,
  • meets any rather than a reasoned selection from his information,
  • has difficulty in weighting the different facts and interprets wrongly or superficially,
  • comes to wrong conclusions or decisions,
  • formulated hastily its concept, so that it is not comprehensible to the reader,
  • formulated badly or unconvincingly and with many errors.

Good self-management helps with time

Good self-management preserves perfectionism and sloppiness in front of the two big time traps. Plan the work on your concept in your daily and weekly routine and reserve fixed times when you can not be reached by telephone and yours eMail-Close the program.

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Do not let external influences interfere with you. Calculate significantly more time for preparation - for creative ideas, for information gathering, -structuring and -interpretation - than for the formulation of your concept.

Proper prior planning prevents poor performance

The good and thorough preparation of your concept content should take about 60 to 80 percent of your time, while the execution or formulation should only be about 20 to 40 percent.

Why? In most cases, the effort involved in the procurement and ordering of information is considerably reduced, but the effort for textual formulation is considerably overstepped.

Good preparation instead of hectic reworking

One already believes to know all the essentials and begins to write the concept. In the meantime, one suddenly finds that important facts are still missing, without which the overall picture would be incomplete or unexplained contradictions would arise.

Now the researches begin, and information is collected again. The overall impression resulting from the new facts leaves everything already formulated, so that the text has to be rewritten - and so on.

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Re-grinding shows an unsystematic style of work

Multiple “loops” between researching, structuring and formulating or preparing and executing testify to an unsystematic working style and unnecessarily increase the time required.

The repetition of work processes can also be avoided under time pressure by careful research, structuring and weighting of the required information before the start of the writing phase.


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