Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are You Trying to Do Too Much?

Are you trying to do too much? Do you look in dismay at your To-Do List at the end of each day, looking at all the things that didn’t get done?

If this sounds like you then a couple of things are going on. First, you are probably over-scheduling. In our society there is a seductive quality to believing that you can get it all done. Unfortunately, we schedule so many things that there is no way it can happen.

Second, you are not anticipating what you have to do you are just reacting to each thing that pops up in life or on your list. That is why I’m trying to get you to look over your list first thing a few times during the day. Your mind will subconsciously work on some of the challenges for but you have to give your brain a heads up.

The third issue is that you’re not saying No enough.

Allow me to make a politically incorrect comment. My experience has been that women are worse about this than men because a lot of women believe that if they say No to something, “I’m a bad mother, bad friend, bad daughter, bad grandmother—bad whatever.” My wife says that is the Superwoman Complex, and to give up the cape.

I have a little different theory about the issue. I believe that a lot of women essentially train the people around them to keep asking for time and effort. The people become emotionally dependent on those women because the women don’t say No every now and then. The truth is probably a combination of the two theories.

I would suggest that you look for tactful ways to say to people, “I would love to be able to take that on, but right now here is my plate is pretty full.” Can you say that in your personal life? In your work life you may want to try to find a way to say “Great. That sounds good. Now I’ve got all these other things due. Help me figure out which of these things I can take off my plate so I can bring this other thing on.” Get them to help you prioritize. If you can do that you can help them become a better manager.

There is a wonderful book, 1001 Ways to Say, "No!" You might want to track it down.

Trying to much is very..mmm...trying. Getting a few things done well is better than trying to get a lot of things done in a mediocre way.

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