We’ve all either been or know someone who ALWAYS has “too much on their plate.”  While capacity and workload shift over time, it’s important that we find ways to get over, around and through for our team members and ourselves.   

“Having too much to do over extended periods of time is a personal leadership development issue.”   

Alright, I said it.  It was risky, but the truth, in this case, is well worth it. For those of you struggling with too much on your plate, here are some steps to help address the issue: 

Ask yourself a couple questions to help zero in on the problem

#1 What are the areas of distraction that slow me down?

  • Make a list of the things you do that may not need to be done anymore?  Ask someone if they still use the report you stayed late to complete, or if they still need you to do XYZ.  You might be surprised at the answer. 
  • Am I saying “yes” to helping others such that it’s increasing my workload and decreasing my overall effectiveness? 
  • Is my indecision or incompetency multiplying the work I have to do?  If you find yourself tabling decisions with the intent of circling back later because it’s overwhelming to make the decision in the moment,  or unwilling to ask for help, this can lead to a lot of noise, duplicating efforts and wasted energy.              
  • Am I addicted to feeling responsible busy?  Oh boy. Be honest!  

After digging into these 5 questions and seeking to reduce the work “coming at” you, it’s time to move onto #2.   

#2 Raise the flag and ask for help. 

Start with a teammate. If there isn’t a willingness/capacity to help, move to your manager. If they don’t help in providing solutions (such as tools or redistributing the load), schedule a meeting with their manager.  

So, if you’re going home with more on your plate than you began the day with, over and over again, rest assured it is a leadership development issue.  Sure it feels good to get things done and feel like you’re a valuable part of the team AND realizing that at the end of the day, quantity of work isn’t the bullseye!  Find ways to more efficiently accomplish the work. When that isn’t enough, ask for help. Yes H-E-L-P is a four-letter word and it’ll be good for you. 

Cheers to becoming less busy and more effective at leading ourselves in 2020!


Josh Block

Author Josh Block

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