Let’s say you were mounting a military campaign.
You are well-equipped, you know the territory, and your troops are well-led.
You are victorious in many battles and you gain a lot of territory. Hurrah!
More conquering? Strike while the iron is hot? Harry the enemy and scatter its forces?
No matter how much territory you’ve gained, it’s unlikely that you’ve achieved such a decisive victory that you can expect that whatever you gained won’t be at risk in the immediate future.
Therefore, you must consolidate.
Consolidation is all the work that happens after the exciting work is over.
Erecting earthworks. Digging latrines. Getting the supply train caught up.
(Or, if you prefer, getting caught up on administrative tasks, decompressing and debriefing, and integrating the new status quo into your workflow. And, of course, planning the next campaign.
If we all plan less than we need to we also consolidate less than we need to, too.
Consolidation might seem frustrating, or a waste of time better spent advancing, but all too often, consolidation is the only thing that allows you to hang onto your gains when you burn out or get thrown a monkey wrench. Consolidation means that you can hold the new territory, because you took the time to really make it yours, instead of a shiny new thingamabob you stapled onto your existing structure or workflow.
What recent gains do you need to take the time to consolidate?