Avoid over-elaboration, with YouTube

How to deal with wasted effort, with help from a Jenga enthusiast, Indiana Jones and Bill & Ted.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This week the papers have been full of the Labour Party conference – we dread to think how many words have been written about what Brown, Darling and Mandelson and co had to say about bashing bankers and saving the world, and we assume that party chiefs have spent months planning every word that went into the speeches. Unfortunately for them, the polls appear to suggest that all this effort will be in vain (one even put Labour behind the Lib Dems in third place, somewhat implausibly). And of course this is a very common problem at work, too: often we put our heart and soul into a particular project, only for it to fall through at the last minute, usually through no fault of our own. So how can we deal with it?

Beware of outside meddling:
Inviting external contributions can be a great way of improving your output – but too many cooks can spoil the broth. In this clip, a Jenga enthusiast lives to regret getting the local TV news channel in to film his labour of love, a Jenga brick replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Speed may be of the essence:
When we’re too close to a project, it’s often tempting to over-elaborate; to make sure that every detail is perfect. But there are times when you just need to get it done and get it out there. This lesson is learned the hard way by an expert swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark – fancy sword-twirling doesn’t count for much when your oppo has a gun.

Make it count when it matters:
But it’s not all doom and gloom. If Gordon’s feeling a bit down in the dumps after the lukewarm reaction to his big speech, he could do a lot worse than watch this clip from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Needing a pass in History to avoid being sent to military school, Ted goes back in time and picks up Sigmund Freud, Genghis Khan, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Beethoven and Abraham Lincoln to jazz up his report – and promptly gets an A. Sometimes going that extra mile can pay dividends…

In today's bulletin:

House prices up - but so are insolvencies
Gem of Tanzania loses its lustre for builder
Red tape to blame for 50% of SME failures
British bosses bad at giving bad news
Avoid over-elaboration, with YouTube

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