The workaround is not the solution

The workaround is not the solution

I work in a fast-paced environment with no shortage of fires that need putting out. Each day presents unexpected challenges that require creative workarounds to keep everything (and everyone) moving until a more elegant solution can be implemented. Unfortunately it’s easy to become satisfied with the workaround – if for no other reason than it’s saving me from immediate discomfort – and fail to every truly solve the problem.

Look around your office or your workstation right now for workarounds that need solutions. Did you find any? It is likely you noticed a mouse that works as long as you hold it a certain way, a handle on a cabinet door that works perfectly until the duct tape fails, a pile of documents that aren’t really in your way even though they should be filed, or a chair that is completely safe as long as you sit in it “just like this.”

Falling in love with the workaround because it eliminates immediate pain is like asking an attacker to punch you in the face at some undefined future date. Sure, you didn’t get punched in the face today, but it’s coming, and probably at the most inopportune time.

Do yourself (and perhaps those around you) a huge favor by fully solving problems today. Tomorrow will have enough challenges without you adding today’s issues to the mix.

PS: As per usual, I wrote this mostly to myself but I hope it helps you too!