Open Loops

The Open Loop

A few years ago I was introduced to a concept through a conversation with a mentor. 

To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it since then. It was applicable and pertinent at the time, but as many concepts do, it reverted into the ether of my subconscious. 

This morning, during a conversation with one of our Mentorship students from VHQ, the concept came up. It is called the open loop. This concept offers a slight shift of perspective with the ways in which we look at tasks, conversations and projects. 

When we start a task, or a conversation, or a project, we open a loop. This loop remains open until that task, r conversation, or project has been completed. Until the box is ticked, we are left with an open loop.

That open loop by itself is harmless, add 10-15 of them and overwhelm soon begins to set in. An open loop is like a tab on google chrome. Chewing up computer/brainpower until we feel like we are running on empty. 

Unresolved tasks, conversations or projects can pile up. When they do our capacity to move forward is diminished, we cease to be productive, we lose our purpose and feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders when the littlest things are asked of us. 

The solution

Let’s start with Tasks. 
Write a list, use the 4 quadrant system to determine which ones are the most important/urgent. And simply tick the boxes. 

In terms of conversations, this is where most of our uncertainty can lie. When two people are involved in a loop, the variables more than double, we all have wants, needs and desires and can leave a conversation with two different stories about what was covered and whether or not the loop is closed. Perspective is important, as well as communication. Spend the time closing the loops with the people you love and value. 

Projects take a little more work than tasks. When you have an objective to complete, it can only be reached by setting a process, planning your milestones, and executing your plan. The loop will close when you do the work, not before. 

Closing loops are difficult, which is why we all live with so many left open. Working on closing a few loops for each one I open is my focus for the next few months and beyond. 

What loops do you need to close?