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(6/30) Closing loops makes everyone less-s**t. Here’s how.

I’m a big, big believer in closing loops. Here’s why.

Emma Downham
Emma Downham
2 min read
Photo by Christina @ / Unsplash

Hello there, I’m participating in #Ship30for30 on Twitter. It’s a writing program with the aim to produce content people actually want to read. You can learn more about it here*. This is essay 6 of 30.

If you’d like to provide feedback, thoughts or feels on this post you can also jump on the Twitter thread.

Here’s the deal. Not getting back to people or not keeping them informed is detrimental to all involved. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. And frankly, it’s rude.

This is why I’m a big, big believer in closing loops. Here’s why.

But first. Stop the jargon ✋. What does closing a loop actually mean?

Essentially it means getting back to someone and closing out the question, invitation, scenario, task etc, with an outcome.

The result? Everyone has an outcome and can move on. Even if that outcome isn’t favourable, like forgetting to do a task!

I’m sure you’ve experienced this somewhere in your life.

  • 👻 If you work in sales, maybe your prospect who you’ve spent 10+ hours starts ghosting you.
  • 🤝🏿 Maybe you applied for a new job or promotion, spent 5 hours in interviews and you never got clarity on the outcome.
  • 🍣 At home, maybe your sister never told you what time lunch will be on Saturday and she’s not returning your texts.

Of course, everyone gets busy. Or forgets. Or ignores. But as people. We need to try and do better because our brains deserve better!

Why you absolutely should close loops 💭

Firstly. You just should. It’s rude and frustrating not to.

Secondly. Our short-term memories are precious and limited in capacity. They only have so much ability to remember things before they’re either forgotten or turned into a long-term memory. And our short-term memories certainly do not deserve to be clogged up with thoughts of waiting for others to get back to them.

Our minds need space to think about other things. Free the brain!

How to close loops ✅

It should be clear by now that: communication is key! Sure, the methods that we close loops at home and at work are going to be different but here are some ideas to ponder:

  • If you’re working on a project communicate an objective clearly and have due dates. Assign tasks in a project management system. Set the expectation upfront that you’ll be following everything up so people are aware.
  • Follow up with people and seek to close the loop yourself if people aren’t getting back to you.
  • Use a reminders app, Slack bot “reminder”, or even just a notebook to remember who you have to get back to, no matter how small it may seem to you.
  • Delegate. Delegate to your spouse to find out the details for lunch if you’re too busy. Delegate to team members or an EA if your workload is too much that you’re unable to communicate and close loops.

Comment on the Twitter thread to let me know your tips on how to close loops!

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Emma Downham

Hi 👋 I'm a word wrangler with a knack for marketing. I write about SaaS marketing, business & productivity. Occasionally I'll deep dive into other things fascinating me!