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What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do (Part I)

career, success, too much to do, waste, conversation

I’ll often say “I’d rather be busy than bored.” But lately as I talk to my clients and audiences, it seems we could all use a little less “busy” and a little more boredom! As our economy and the seasons emerge from their own deep-freeze, we’re juggling more than ever in our work and lives.

Some of it is welcome–people long underutilized are getting back to work and back to business. But much of it is overwhelming! So what do you do when there’s too much to do? Here are three answers you can try today–the Red Cape Revolution way!

1. Drop the Ball

Imagine playing catch with your daughter, getting a nice rhythm of toss and catch going. Then your son pitches a ball your way, your spouse throws another, your neighbor another, your mailman one more. They keep coming faster, and faster, and–OUCH!

You can’t catch all those balls. You also can’t throw them back quick enough. And when you’re trying to catch them all, the valuable experience with your daughter disappears.

We wouldn’t think about catching all of those balls in the backyard. So why do we try to catch them all at work? My challenge to you is to start dropping one–or many–right now.

Yes, I see you quiver. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, well, you’re not alone. It’s counter-cultural today to think about not doing something–we’ve been taught that the key to success is to do, do, do. But that, my friends, is a lie.

People are not computers. We cannot just add a new memory chip, or upgrade to higher bandwidth. If you are constantly expanding your capacity to catch and handle all the balls coming your way–especially balls that aren’t making the most of your talents and your superpowers–you’re kidding yourself. You’re actually diminishing your own resources, not expanding them–and that’s not helping your company or your career.

In fact, it’s a myth to think that your work speaks for itself, and that more work equals more good buzz about you. Taking more on to the degree it starts to wear you down isn’t a career growth strategy–it’s a recipe for failure. You are letting your own system absorb the shock rather than sharing it with the system that is the organization.

Catch the balls that make sense for you–the ones where you can wear your red cape and bring your superpowers to work. Let the others bounce off your chest confidently and roll onto the ground.

Can’t imagine letting a ball sit on the floor, untouched? Remember that you’re doing your company a favor. When there’s no pain–when there are no balls rolling on the ground, with no one to handle them–it’s harder to notice which problems need to be solved. When you’re catching all the balls, it’s not as obvious to your organization that it’s time to hire, eliminate outdated processes or systems, change or create a role, or even reward your or other people’s contributions.

Try dropping some balls–and holding tight to the few that matter most.

(Check out our next post for more ideas on what to do when there’s too much to do! ) And don’t forget to tell us what you think–leave a reply below or come talk to us on Facebook!

5 responses to “What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do (Part I)”

  1. […] in the newsletter (with our first strategy, Drop the Ball),  just read it at our previous post here, then come on back for more! Also, we love your comments and ideas, so fire away!