Buried in Details: Why We Focus on Things That Don’t Matter in Business

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Details, details.…Often we get buried in the details and shift our focus to things that don’t matter in business.

Lots of people like detail. They like to create it and live in it and pretend to fight it and play at business in it.

This is especially tempting in a solo-run online business. Unless we have a coach or a tough accountability partner, no one is checking to see if we’re really accomplishing anything besides details.

We comfort ourselves by claiming that we’re doing a lot of things, but often those “things” aren’t the things that move us forward or make money.

How much time are you spending on “things” like writing blog posts that don’t actually get published because they’re not yet perfect, researching how to do a technical task that could be outsourced for five dollars and commenting on other people’s Facebook posts? How many courses are you taking about information you don’t need right now?

Referring to paper clutter, Glenn Marshall said “ninety percent of detail comes from indecision and putting off action. People can’t make up their minds, so they wait and wait and wait and lay things aside until they can. By then they’re buried.”

It’s a form of “waiting” to focus on busywork that doesn’t make a real difference in the income level of your business.

Of course you have to do tasks that are the nuts-and-bolts maintenance sort of thing, especially when you’re starting out. That’s not wrong. The problem is when you get stuck in finding more and more details to work on so you won’t have to face the scary stuff.

It’s a lot more comfortable to re-write your ideal client description than to write a sales letter in an email to your ideal client.

It’s easier to get your website “ready” than to publish a sales page on your site.

It’s more fun to think about and talk about and plan an information product than to actually finish it and put it up for sale.

Many of the things you’re doing look legitimate but deep down you know they’re a way of blocking and putting off the important stuff you have to do.

For every low-priority task you spend valuable time doing, there is a business-shifting, income-producing task that you’re not doing. Getting lost in the details is costing you money.

Take a good, hard look at the details you’re focusing on. Are you pretending to be busy? Are you playing at business to cover up the utter terror you feel at putting yourself out there in the world?

I’m no psychologist, but as a recovering professional busyworker who hid behind details I can tell you this. Every time I’ve admitted to myself that I was focusing on details instead of the big stuff, it was very freeing (and profitable) to stop it and get to work.

You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to know all the details. You can still do a great job without doing a perfect one.

If you’re buried in details, it’s time to climb out and shift your focus. If something feels uncomfortable and stretching and scary, that’s probably what you’re supposed to be doing. Reduce the details, increase your income.


Charlotte SiemsCharlotte Siems is a happy wife and mom of twelve who is a speaker, author and coach. After losing 100 pounds with T-Tapp, she became a Master T-Tapp Trainer, sharing her encouraging story with people all over the world. She has built a successful online business and writes about family life and T-Tapp at www.ThisLovelyPlace.com.










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11 years ago

My partner says sometimes…you have to decide to just not do some things. There isn’t enough time to do it all 🙂

Donna Rios
Donna Rios
11 years ago

This post does hit home with me…Working from home and being your own boss, sounds wonderful and I wouldn’t change that, but the daily scheduling of my time to be the most profitable is a grinding chore. While there are so many things that I need to be doing, sometimes thinking of all those “things” can get you into a whirlwind of doing really nothing but thinking.

Learning to stick to a goal and planning out my time, such as blocking off time for a specific task and then the reward I receive is a little time off for myself, has helped me a ton. I would of never thought that scheduling time to do something would be such a freeing feeling. Seems like the opposite to me, but somehow it works.

This was a great article…

Kim Garst
Kim Garst
Reply to  Donna Rios
11 years ago

Charlotte really does get it, doesn’t she!

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