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Too Many Needles

Last week was one where ‘overwhelmedness’ was a bit of a theme.  The first couple of days of the week were spent with a bunch of smart business leaders from the agri-sector, all taking the time to step outside of their respective businesses to look collectively at how we could solve some ‘in business’ challenges.  A number of challenges were raised, and the group think around solving some of these issues was fantastic, but on reflection, it occurs to me that most-if-not-all of the challenges raised were as a result of not having enough time to get everything done.  There were conversations around delegation, time management, focus, prioritisation…all good conversations, sure, but you can see a theme emerging.  Fast forward to the second half of my week, and I spent the bulk of it with two clients: 

  • coaching the business leader for one client, who is struggling to achieve what she wants to achieve in the business she’s employed by, because the problems seem huge, both in volume and in magnitude to her; and
  • developing new rosters and looking at waste (in terms of time) in the business for another, as they feel their business is well resourced enough to get it all done…but just simply isn’t.  Their managers are working extremely hard and are great in their own right at their technical speciality…but the basics just aren’t being done well.

As I came to the end of the week, I came across this article on Inc.com called ‘The Brutal Truth You Need to Accept If You Want to Stop Feeling Constantly Overwhelmed’.  Have a read and see what resonates for you, but for me it was a great reminder that we just can’t do everything.  It’s not the elusive needle in a haystack…it’s a whole haystack of needles!  And the truth is…we’re never going to get to them all.

"The only way to deal with a too-many-needles problem is to confront the fact that it's insoluble - that you definitely won't be fitting everything in.  You have to take a stab at deciding what matters most, among your various creative passions/life goals/responsibilities - and then do that, while acknowledging that you'll inevitably be neglecting many other things that matter too."

Liberating, right?  Obvious as well you could argue, but a timely reminder nonetheless.  And to have this reminder at the end of a week when I’ve had a lot on and couldn’t get it all done…a welcome relief.