There is a principle in the theatre world known as “Chekov’s Gun.” Named for the Russian playwright, Anton Chekov, it simply suggests that if you show a gun in one act, then the gun must be used in the next – otherwise, the gun serves no purpose and is not only unnecessary to moving the plot forward, but the audience may become fixated on the gun and expect an explanation for its presence.
In the real life theatre that is the workplace, we often encounter unnecessary variables that do more to derail productivity than move already complicated projects or business strategies forward. When you lose sight of your key objectives by following every rabbit trail you come upon or spend too much time on components that, in the long run, will have little effect on the final results, productivity tends to take a dive. And while a case can certainly be made for exploring new concepts and ideas, if you’re no closer to achieving your objectives than when you first started, it often becomes an exercise in futility.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind as you work through seemingly overcomplicated projects is most notably attributed to Albert Einstein:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
Focus on the essential elements and how they will lead to success. And while you shouldn’t readily dismiss every variable that arises along the way, it’s important to ask yourself if they truly help achieve your key objectives or merely serve as a momentary distraction to the tasks at hand.
How do you stay focused on your key objectives and tune out unnecessary distractions? Let us know in the comments section below.