In 2014, I started to compose this post about getting unnecessarily stuck in the weeds (aka minutia) My first obstacle was that I couldn’t spell it. Perhaps I should have just went with getting in the wees. Because with that spelling discovery, the metaphorical fun began. As did this venture into the weeds of minutia begins.
There is no such place as Menusha in the state of Wisconsin. But you can visit Menasha, Wisconsin. Minutia is more likely found n the state of confusion.
Here’s a definition from dictionary.com…
mi· nu· ti· a (n)
A small or trivial details: From Late Latin mintiae, petty details, from Latin mintia, smallness, from mintus, small.
However you spell it, the question remains: How do we avoid getting stuck in it? First let’s get a handle on it:
Mapping Menusha and Minutia
Just a little metaphorical minutia
More Minutia Meanings
OK, it means small or petty details. With some folks, you ask them for the time and they describe how to build the watch. Let’s define what minutia can mean for high level executives.
- Metaphoric mud, quicksand or manure.
- All of that seemingly urgent, somewhat routine, not that important stuff that needs doing. When we routinely do it, it keeps us from getting to the less urgent yet really important stuff that would lead to greater progress and success if we could just get around to it.
- Undesirable clutter
- A less vulgar way to convey the s-word
- Stuff that hijacks your #1To-Do List items
Listen for the term. When you hear it, is it describing a scenario with an absence of focus on what is genuinely important? Isn’t the trivial outranking things of higher potential when allocating time and/or resources?
Mixing Economists and Minutia
Now here’s a group we might associate with minutia: economists! They seem to enjoy using intellectual yet cluttered phrases like marginal propensity to consume. Perhaps they might help us while here; let’s create a new economists’ buzz phrase. What if economists examined the opportunity cost of minutia where you work? Could they quantify the amount of major opportunities that are squandered because you’re stuck in the daily minutia. What opportunities are currently on your agenda that were also there six to twelve months ago? What does delayed execution cost you each year?
Solution: Enhanced Awareness
- How well can you discern when minutia is needed?
- When it’s not needed, how much valuable time to you spend unnecessarily mired in minutia?
- Can you learn to ask yourself:
When is good enough, good enough?
- If you could, how might you reduce your opportunity cost of minutia?
With as many times as I’ve used the word minutia on this page, this page has become prominent in Google and Yahoo for both menusha and minutia. If only minutia was a sale-able e-commerce commodity! Perhaps not. However our clients tell us that helping them to rise above their minutia has significant value. If it’s getting deep where you work and you’re open to take action to avoid squandering opportunities, feel free to drop me a line.
Minutia Trivia: for the hopelessly mired.
- While there is not a Menusha, there is a Menasha, Wisconsin (that’s Men-ASH-a).
- Menusha is a first name for some women of Japanese ancestry. For the sake of these women, let’s hope it’s also the name of a Japanese flower or fragrance.
- At the time this was written there’ was a Minutia Magazine. No longer. No Menusha! It was for micro and mini car enthusiasts.
Minutia Trivia? How redundant is that?
And by the way, please don’t ask how much time I spent creating those map images. I’ll never tell.
Enough! How is trivial minutia is holding you back? Before you go back to work: What might you start to do differently to overcome it?
What if you replaced your use of the S-word with the M-word?