A key aspect of personal effectiveness is the ability to clear your mind, to remove blocks to clear thinking and begin looking at the problem afresh.

Do you ever feel as if you are knocking your head against a brick wall? Are you repeating the same actions and achieving the same negative outcome each time? The frustration of this often builds up to the point where you are no longer thinking clearly. It is important in this situation to stand back and evaluate the whole picture. This is easy to say, but we often need help to do this review well.

Asking a colleague or friend to help you tease out the issue is often good. If that resource is not available, the following focussed questions will act as a prompt sheet to help you see the issue more clearly.

Focussed Questions

1. What exactly am I trying to achieve here?

2. What is the end goal? Write down a one line goal.

3. Is this worth working on? Write down the pay-offs?

4. Should I be doing this now?

5. Why am I doing it this way?

6. Is there a better way of doing it?

7. If I did it differently could I do it better, or faster or cheaper?

8. Could someone else do it? What is to be gained from that?

9. What am I assuming about this situation?

10. What if my assumptions are wrong?

11. Who else has faced this issue? What did they do?

12. Has anyone achieved a better outcome?

13. What mistakes have I made in the past?

14. What mistakes have others made?

15. What is stopping me acting differently?

16. If action is required, do it! Set the goal, plan the strategy to achieve this goal and schedule the actions.

17. If action is not required – you have evaluated it. Now move on.

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi provides management development training. She designs customised training for managers at all levels.