Like many people, I follow a number of companies and people on Twitter . One that I always appreciate catching is the Harvard Business Review. They have statistics, quick tips, and links to relevant articles that I enjoy. One such stat was “To Make a Task Seem Easier, Lean Back a Little.”

The tip itself is simple, People who leaned back so that their eyes were an average of 38.8 inches from a computer screen found the task of pronouncing meaningless strings of letters easier than people who leaned forward to 12.5 inches…”

Straightforward? Yes. Logical? Yes. Something we think to do? Perhaps not. I know I can use a reminder. When I’m concentrating, I lean into my work – literally. So to be told to step back, while seemingly a common sense suggestion, is one I can use on a regular basis. As I thought about it, I realized it went beyond my physical posture.

When deep in the middle of a project I often find myself buried in the details. Are all the tasks being completed? Are we on track? Are people prioritizing appropriately? All items that need to be addressed. However, at the risk of mixing my metaphors, at times we can’t see the forest for the trees. I get so mired in the day to day that the big picture becomes a little fuzzy. When I do take the step back, the project while not any smaller seems a bit more manageable. That step can take many forms; talking it over with a co-worker who isn’t involved directly, reviewing the Gantt Chart (which I find more difficult than the original creation), or just revisiting the project plan. Once I’ve taken the step back, the project seems more manageable, and I may have new insights to overcoming obstacles that appeared insurmountable.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Do you find yourself mired in the details? How do you step back?

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