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

If you didn’t read Part I of this article about what to do when there’s too much to do (with our first strategy, Drop the Ball),  just read it at our previous post here, then come on back for more. 

2. Drop the Waste.

In most companies, the “people part” of the business is still called “human resources.” You (the human) are a vital, important resource to the organization–a resource to be invested and “spent” just like money, energy and time.

When you’re doing too much–especially work that is not in your superpower space–you’re actually wasting the company’s resources, whether you work for a large Fortune 500 business or it’s just you in your own firm. And who doesn’t hate waste?

As you look at all the things you’re doing, ask yourself:

  • Is this the most important thing I can contribute to our business right now? If not, does it even need to be done? If it needs to be done, does it need to be done now?
  • Given my superpowers and ways I can contribute best, is doing this the best use of my time and talents?
  • If I were paid an hourly rate for this work, would it be worth it? (Not sure of your hourly rate? Divide your weekly pay by the number of hours you typically work each week. Psst. . want to give yourself a raise? Reduce your hours worked without reducing your impact–but that’s a discussion for another time!)

Try having a very real and business-centered conversation: “I’m concerned we’re wasting company resources to have this action on my list when I could be investing more time in [higher value work that makes the most of your superpowers and a greater difference to the organization]. Can we brainstorm how to get this done by a lower-cost resource?”

Eliminating hidden waste is one of the biggest business improvement opportunities for organizations today. By dropping the waste, both you and the company win.

3. Drop the Guilt.

Those who’ve worked with me know I’ll often say that human beings are messy. And I mean that with love–messy is good, messy is interesting, messy is creative!

Because we’re so creative (yes, even you actuaries who say you’re not), we constantly think of new actions and ideas that can move ourselves and our work forward. Ideas are good. But ideas give us too much to do.

Too many ideas start to pile up and make “good” feel “overwhelming”.  And we have the very real and human emotion of guilt when we can’t do it all.

Consider this your permission to drop the guilt. You are highly capable of many things–and just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I can reorganize my kitchen, but hiring the professional organizer to do it let me spend that time in my superpower space–and she in hers.   If it’s not something making the best use of your superpowers, find another solution. They’re out there.

Because we’re creative and ever-changing, there will always be things to do–more than we can ever get done. When you’re working in your superpowers and doing your best work that matters, there’s nothing to be guilty about.

Comments? Other ideas? Please add your thoughts here on the blog in the Comments below.

Also, here’s something totally guilt-free– download your free gift, “27 Tips to Get More Life Out of Work!” here.

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