Well, shoot. Neither of those statements is any good. I really do need to be making progress on my big projects. They're my bread-and-butter in the end; the projects are what people really want from me. But if I don't do the little things, then I will have a lot of people a little annoyed with me, and also no socks (laundry counts as a little thing!).
I can't do little things all the time. And I can't do big projects all the time. Shoot.
My personal project plan looks something like this, for the most part:
- Day 1: set up, figure out what I'm doing to do
- Day 2-5: project
- Day 6: little things
- Day 7-11: more on the project- Day 12: little things
- Day 13: little things
- Day 14-18: finish project!
- Day 19: little things
- Day 20: little things
- Day 21: start next project
So what's interesting?
First, I work best in days. I get all day to focus on a project. Or I get all day to clear out a swath of little things. This is my personal bias. Second, I don't put it in here, but I do an email sweep three times a day or so. On project days I don't respond to anything that doesn't sound urgent, but I still check. Third, I spend a lot of time on little things.
I'm spending about 60-70% of my time on projects, and the other 30-40% on little things. That seems too biased toward little things, but I find that doing little things helps me continue to be highly responsive to my clients. Being highly responsive to our clients is one of the things that makes Abakas successful, and I'm very proud of that. Frankly, our clients would rather the project take a few days longer if it means that they can ask questions, plan the next project, bring up a crisis, or simply gloat (or vent) and know they'll get a response quickly.
Everyone has their own personal balance between the big projects and all the little things that pile up. When you're figuring out your balance, consider not only how you work best, but also how you want to work with other people and how they want to work with you. And good luck.... balance is always a tricky thing.