One Picture or Many Little Dots?


When it comes to major life events, I’m a clear-one-hurdle-at-a-time kind of girl. When important events or deadlines pile up in quick succession, I get a little breathless. The only way I can manage them is to take one event at a time, subdividing my attention only when absolutely necessary.

This may sound hyper-focused but, in fact, I’m a global thinker. I love big-picture planning. Details drive me crazy, and the fear of missing an important one causes me to procrastinate feverishly. And it means I do best when I focus on one big detail (hurdle) at a time.

Image via Abstract vector designed by Freepik

Image via Abstract vector designed by Freepik, CCO Public Domain

I don’t remember the source behind my introduction to global vs. detail-oriented thinking, but I do know that the initial assessment surprised me a little, and it took some real-world events (and teasing from my colleagues) to get me to the point where I nodded knowingly, accepting this style, which involves equal parts planning and procrastination.

These days, I embrace my globalness, just as I embrace my I need to see it/drop and run styles. Now, I can shake my head and laugh at my big-picture focus, and even defend it most of the time. I know it’s part of what makes me event-avoidant, but I’m also able to tackle things head-on when necessary, provided I use strategies that work for me.

What strategies, you may ask? Here are three of them.

Allow plenty of time.

For global thinkers, procrastination is often the “default setting” when planning something big and/or important. Overwhelmed by the task, we vacillate from unrealistic, enormous plans to the bare bones basics, finally landing somewhere in the middle. When we give ourselves enough time to work through the process, this vacillating can actually work to our advantage, leaving us with a multi-faceted plan.

Make lists.

Incrementally, if necessary. As an I need to see it person, I struggle tremendously when everything I need to do is on one list, so I often create lists by category. For my daughter’s graduation party, for example, I made lists for decorations, lists for food and grocery lists — on three separate pages. My detail-oriented husband wasn’t the least bit intimidated by putting it all on the same page, but for me, seeing all of that information on one page would have made the whole thing seem insurmountable.

Don’t let the details get you down. 

Breathe. List. Act. Just take one detail at a time. Yes, there are lots of them, but, little by little, they’ll line up just the way you want them to if you just take them one at a time.
If you’re a detail-oriented person, working with a global person can be very frustrating (and vice versa). Stop by next week for some strategies you can use to cope with the global people in your life.
Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess

About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and is a blogger at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.