The lake in the picture sure doesn't look the same today, in January in northern Alberta. Water turns to ice. Grass is covered by snow. Liquid is immobilized, and the anything trying to move on the ice, well, it can get very mobile, in unexpected directions!

Yesterday, my day was interrupted by my daughter, who spun into the ditch on an icy road on the way to school. No one was hurt, there was a little bit of cracking of the front bumper, and thanks to a friendly school bus driver with a good tow cable, everyone was able to continue on their way.

Traction is the name of a business book that I should read. It applies to startups. It also applies to individuals trying to get through their workday.

In the course of doing our jobs, we accumulate the right tool. I have a hammer in the back seat of my truck just because of one valve on our water tank that gets stuck and needs a tap. If we are doing the same thing every day, eventually we come up with a set of processes and tools that let us just do our job.

When things change, we can end up needing a tool we don't have. Or finding that our tool almost works but doesn't quite. In an effort to make something work, we can waste quite a bit of time and energy. We can also end up with a toolset that is just not conducive to efficiency.

Are you spinning your wheels? Do things take longer now than they used to? Are there new elements to your job that you are trying to accomplish with an old toolset? Take a look at where you spend your time, and what tools you use. How easy is the work? How does it make you feel? Do things feel like they are "almost right" but you don't have time or energy to change your process?

It's still January. Call it a New Year's Resolution. Fix your toolset now before you waste more time.

Me, I'm buying my own tow cable and slowing down when the roads are icy.


If you work with spreadsheets as a part of your day, North Creek is developing a toolset that will help you merge your desktop analysis with the web-based, social, collaborative world of work we live in now. We want to create that tool that does just what you need - but we need your feedback. The Beta is starting soon - help guide North Creek's product vision. Email me, or contact me via Facebook or Twitter. My LinkedIn account also links back to this blog.

Categories: Business