It has happened to me. I need to go get flea medicine for the dog, but then on the way my husband asks me to pick up razor blades. Then my daughter asks for a Starbucks.
I was trying to go to the store for one thing, and then my errand got bigger than I intended.
This kind of thing is so common it has a formal name:
When I lead meetings at work, I am very quick to point out when our plan starts to creep beyond the original intention.
“Scope Creep! That will have to wait and be part of another project.”
I feel like I have won when I get to call out scope creep. A line in the sand, a boundary and an answer. I know what to do with this.
Projects are what I do and I love to organize and process them.
The best way to recognize when scope creep is happening is to be very clear on the purpose of my effort. And to know how much money and time I was willing to spend.
If I only had a half hour, I would tell my husband and daughter no because I didn’t have the time. If I was trying to save money, I might tell my daughter no to Starbucks. I have a small tight little task and I know what I need.
Life is full of currents and I can get caught up in the momentum of what I’ve always done. Maybe I was running my flea errand on the way home from work.
And maybe in all that hurry I forget to check the big question.
It’s easy to forget to wonder whether I ought to have that job at all. Projects keep my focus on a few details I’ve decided are important.
But if I look again, maybe I would decide something different. I could un-focus my perspective and see things a different way.
I could widen my view. Instead of trying to be the fastest one on the freeway, I could expand my view and ask if I even want to be on the road.
I can’t help but think that this COVID shut down shifted the momentum of all the people in the world. People are moving. People have lost jobs and found new ones.
There are other roads to travel on. Picking my road can make a difference.