There’s a limit to how much someone can do in a day. There’s a cap on how many things we can juggle. There’s a maximum output for our productivity and a cap on our concentration that can’t be fixed with coffee and red bull. There’s a point at which juggling too much does more harm than good.
Time management doesn’t always cut it
Having too much work on can’t always be handled with effective time management. Managing your time and prioritising the more immediate or important tasks doesn’t always cut it, not when things get silly. Those arm bands will help you stay afloat in mild waters, but not during a storm in the open ocean.
When you’ve got too much on, you’ve got two choices: you can shield your concerns, get your head down, crack on and pretend everything is under control. Or you can be honest and tell someone.
1. Crack on
If you crack on, sooner or later, you’ll drop a ball (or an iron). You might get stressed, tired, loose sleep, work silly hours, forget to take breaks, miss lunch and, eventually, burn out.
What do you think happens to the quality of your work when you’ve got too much on? It takes a massive hit. You start multitasking and lose focus. You miss deadlines, forget to do something important, prioritise the wrong thing, let someone down, damage your reputation and do the bare minimum to pass something off as ‘done’.
Is that what you work for? To do the bare minimum and to pass something off as ‘done’?
2. Tell someone
On the other hand, if you tell someone about it, someone like your boss, then you might get help. Someone might lighten the load, help you reprioritise, give you room to breathe or give you a hand and make life easier.
Escalating this stuff isn’t an admittance of incompetence. It’s not an embarrassing failure to cope. It doesn’t show an inability to prioritise or manage your time and it’s not a mark against your work ethic.
Honesty is a skill
It’s honesty, it’s being open and it’s being able to communicate. That kind of open honesty is just as much of an important skill as time management and prioritising are in the first place .
If you’re honest, open and communicate often, you’ll give yourself the breathing space and time to enjoy what you do, to dedicate your most productive time to the most important stuff and to produce your best work.
Isn’t that what you work for?