Shortly before ending his campaign for the Republican nomination for President, Jeb Bush’s staff made the biggest mistake you can make as a web publisher. They forgot to renew one of the campaign’s internet domain names, jebbush.com. To make matters worse, the domain was promptly grabbed by the rival Donald Trump campaign.
As a result of the media surrounding this, a rush of traffic flooded jebbush.com, which was now pointing to Donald Trump’s website. The result was that the Trump site became overloaded and crashed.
Both the Bush team’s failure to pay attention to the numerous domain renewal notices that every registrar sends out, and the Trump team’s failure to prepare for sudden spikes in traffic are all too common mistakes that point to a lack of attention to critical details that can misfire in dramatic ways.
Our lives are full of details that seem unimportant, or things that seem to be working just fine and don’t need attention — until they aren’t. How can we keep track of so many little details — the things that seem to be working fine until they explode? When you’re managing something as complex as a presidential campaign or a business or your own health and well-being, it’s understandable that things sometimes fall through the cracks.
Rather than driving yourself crazy with obsessively checking and worrying about things that may go wrong, there are three good strategies that we should all be employing to reduce stress while preventing little things from becoming big things.
The first is automation – set it and forget it. For anything you find yourself worrying about, find a way to schedule time for it or invent a way to make effortless progress on it. For example, schedule a physical checkup for the same day every year or use autopay to renew your company’s website domains.
The second strategy is delegation. Many people avoid delegation because they don’t trust other people to follow through on the things they commit to. We’re assuming that in Jeb Bush’s case, delegation didn’t work. The key to successful delegation is accountability. When you delegate something, simultaneously use automation to remind yourself that the task was delegated and that someone else is handling it on a certain schedule or by a certain date. Decide what’s easier to you; to do it yourself, or to confirm that someone else has done it.
The third strategy is elimination. Is the thing you’re doing something that actually needs to be done? Are there actually adverse consequences in the event that the task isn’t done? For example, at WatzThis?, we just decided to shut down two of our Facebook pages because they weren’t serving any purpose and yet tasks related to them were still on our to-do list. No more!
Little neglected things have a way of turning into big problems at exactly the wrong time — when we’re most busy and therefore most neglectful of little things. By constantly looking for ways to simplify, delegate, and automate, you can mind the details while not going out of your mind.