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I have this task, project or experience that I know will be stressful, chaotic and emotionally volatile

Frontloading

FRONTLOADING@2x

The Context

Frontloading is an engineering term that means committing resources in order to maximize the potential for success. You distribute or allocate unevenly, with the greater proportion of the activity happening at the beginning of the enterprise or process. One of the reasons people advocate for frontloading is because of flexibility. Early in the lifecycle of a particular project, you're still operating in that fertile time when the ability to influence changes is relatively high, and the cost to make those changes is relatively low. Software designers are masters of this. They'll measure twice and cut once, so to speak, focusing on elements like requirements, feasibility, concepting and scope, before they commit resources to design and development. Ask anyone who's ever worked with programmers before, frontloading saves tons of time and frustration. But what about the rest of life? Can we use frontloading in nonprofessional areas to maximize our potential for success?

The Tool

two color

Frontloading

FRONTLOADING — Maximize the potential for success by putting a greater proportion of the activity at the beginning of the process

Another powerful tool for creating personal leverage. Think back to taking standardized tests in high school. Our teachers told us to work on the hard problems first. Doing so would boost our confidence and build momentum during our allotted time. And as result, frontloading would create a cascading effect on other problems that would simply get resolved on their own. Imagine the broad applications of this concept. Say you're traveling to visit family over the holidays, and you know it will be stressful, chaotic and emotionally volatile. Find ways to frontload your experience. Plan to visit all of your pain in the ass relatives in the first few days. Frontload those interpersonal challenges so you can confront them at the beginning of your trip, and everything will get easier from there. This will insure you against the snowballing of downstream problems, and eliminate the dread of that looming last day visit with your crazy uncle who's been building a doomsday prepper shed in his backyard. Rather than procrastinating and returning home depleted and in dire need of a vacation from your vacation, you conclude your trip peacefully. But what about converse of that example? What if, instead of frontloading stress, you frontloaded joy? This is one of the reasons waking up early can have a disproportionately positive effect on your day. Because when you carve out time for yourself before the rest of the world wakes up, something magical happens. You're not longer hoping to just stumble across an opportunity for joy at some point hours from now, and risking you don’t get there.

I've discovered that by introducing activities that bring me real joy and energy and meaning in the early morning, I'm not postponing my happiness. I'm not relying on the whims of chance to hopefully give me those two extra hours in my schedule. You just wake up early and claim it for yourself. And nobody can take it away from you. By the time the rest of the world finally gets moving, you've already done the work of showing up for yourself. The rest of the day is gravy.

The Rest

Behold, the leverage power of frontloading. If you want to maximize the potential for success in any endeavor, assure the greater proportion of the activity happens at the beginning of the process. Your blood pressure will thank you. How can you build momentum early and often?

The Benefits

Give yourself more flexibility in making changes at a lower cost
Boost confidence and build momentum during a finite period of time
Insure yourself against the snowballing of downstream issues in a project
Create a cascading effect on other problems that would simply get resolved on their own.

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