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Compartmentalization: Taming Your Bees

Bess flying and perching on a wooden block

I read a great post recently by my fellow EOS implementor®, Dale Williams, about taming the bees in your head. He talks about the dozens of things that are always buzzing around in our heads all the time, and how to get a handle on them through Compartmentalization. Check out his video here.

Stacks of paper and folders on table

Personally, I've got lots - LOTS - of bees in my head at any given time. I’ve got so many ideas rolling around, sometimes (often!) in the middle of a single stream of thought.

I am on point in the session room. I know my schedule, I’m focused, I’m marching in a straight line to help my client get what they need out of the day.


In my office, though, I’m kind of a mess. I am stressed because there are so many different things that I need to/can attend to. Clean up my email, work on my rocks, iron out my next presentation, pay bills, catch up on reading, etc. And with my office being at home, I also want to add in some personal things like tossing in a load of laundry, cooking dinner, going for a walk, organizing a messy space I’ve been walking by for far too long, watering plants, and so many other things.


It took me a while to realize that by the time I hit noon, I was a ball of stress. And eventually, that anxiety started early in the morning in anticipation of the bees flying all around me for the day.  Ugh!

Talk about a need to tame the bees!!


Four sticky notes on wooden desk

Enter the gift of compartmentalization. In EOS, we teach a tool called Compartmentalizing. Here’s a great 2:46 video that helps to explain the tool – and lays a foundation for the ideology I tap into to tame the bees.


I use this tool to help settle down my racing thoughts about my work objectives and priorities. Each thing on my mind settles down into one of 4 compartments: Goals, Rocks, To-Do’s, Issues. When I use this tool I get more done in less time, and with less stress. Amazing!


Once I get that sorted out, I have a clear picture of the timeline for each item: some will be completed this week, some this quarter, and some this year.

Notepad with to-do list

Now the bees are quieter in my head, but I've still got a lot of buzzing going on each day as I contemplate my to-do list, so I continue down this path.  At the start of the day I grab a pen and a blank notepad, and sketch out my day. Yep – it’s a good old fashioned, hand-written to-do list! I look at my calendar and make a note on the notepad of my commitments to others (meetings, calls, etc.). Then I identify blocks of time that are free, and fill them in with items from my to-do list. I consider what things are truly a priority to get done today by asking myself this: at the end of the day if I get this task done, will that make it a good day? If the answer is yes, it gets on the list.


As I go through the day I check off each item I’ve accomplished, which works really well if you’re like me and love the gratification of checking things off a list! At the end of the day, I’ve steadily marched through my day, gotten to all of the highlights, and am able to clearly get a picture of anything that wasn’t accomplished (we can never totally plan our day, can we?!) and see where I need to pick up for my next office day.

Bees tamed, mission accomplished.

About the Author

Photo of author Kirsten Smith

Kirsten Smith, founder of Made to Thrive Consulting, is a business management strategist and EOS Implementer®. She has over 20 years Business Development and Management experience with small and large organizations alike, including those listed among the Fortune 500. She is both a business professional and motivational speaker covering a range of topics including attitude change, effective sales techniques, customer service excellence, and personality profiling. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs and leaders be the very best version of themselves and to do more than just survive … THRIVE!

Contact Kirsten at 

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