You’ve heard many times people say, “I’ve got too much to do.” In fact, you have probably said it yourself. More than once. It’s a common mantra that invokes nods from everyone around because we have all been led to believe that we have too much to do. Well, here’s a novel thought: You NEVER have too much to do. WHAT!?
I realize this isn’t the best way to win friends and influence people, but it’s true. It’s a bold statement, especially because you live a life that confirms just the opposite. If you didn’t have too much to do, then why are you so frazzled and running from one thing to another in an effort to get it all done?
Actually, what is really happening is that you insist on accomplishing all you have to do, the way you’re used to doing it when you had only one thing to do. At one time, you were able to manage your work and accomplish everything. But it wasn’t long before you absorbed more tasks, accepted more challenges and took on more activities. Soon, while you felt comfortable doing any of it, you just couldn’t do ALL of it. But the way you worked never changed—only the volume of work.
The real problem is your insistence on doing things the way you’re accustomed to doing them when you had less to do. That means you are
• Reluctant to let something go. This is mine! It’s how I have distinguished myself.
• Reluctant to empower others. No one can do it as well as I can.
• Reluctant to think differently. This is the way I’ve always done it.
• Reluctant to decide. I’ll do it differently as soon as…
• Reluctant to act. I know I should but I can’t because…
By your reluctance to think and act differently, of course you have too much to do. There is only so much of you to go around.
This week, instead of feeling overwhelmed and overworked, take some time to:
• Clarify your direction and purpose: What am I really trying to accomplish?
• Establish your priorities: Instead of asking, What do I need to do? Ask, What do I need to make happen?
• Delegate and empower: Who could (or should be responsible to) do some or all of this?
• Be deliberate: Say yes, say no, according to your purpose and priorities. Avoid committing to anything else.
• Focus: Remove temptations, interruptions and distractions.
If you do this hard work, you will finally adopt the mindset and practice of having the right amount to do.