I’m just going to admit it. Sometimes I feel my life’s like this:
One good, even great thing–be it a new project, an energizing task, an inspiring event–rolls down life’s conveyer belt. And I manage just fine, maybe with added pep in my step. But then each thing seems to be followed by more and more things, and suddenly everything is happening so fast that it becomes less exciting, less energizing and less inspiring, if at all! In fact it just becomes indistinguishable stuff coming at me, piling up and making me so overwhelmed that I want it all to be concealed from view. If I can’t see it, it must not exist right? (I know, I know, faulty logic.)
I think everyone can relate to the ups and downs of having a lot on one’s plate, personally, professionally or both. There’s a lot that one is committed to doing, feels committed to doing, or wants to be committed to doing. But we can’t do it all, and we can’t be everything to everyone. And is there ever such a thing as the “right time”?
In the nonprofit world especially, there is a plethora of exciting, innovative and touching work being done in our communities and for the causes near and dear to our hearts. But it’s easy to get sucked in the flurry of having to get stuff done that we end up doing lots and lots of stuff without really getting the job done. And when we lose sight of the bigger picture, we end up losing control. That can lead to one of two extremes: paralysis or panic. Neither is productive to mission success. So saddle up and take a few lessons from the adventures of Lucy and Ethel with…
The DO’s and DON’TS of Tackling Tasks
What NOT to do:
- DON’T pretend to know what you’re doing or what someone’s talking about if you have no clue.
- DON’T hide your progress or lack there of.
- DON’T get so deep into the weeds that you lose sight of the bigger picture and the whole of what you are working towards.
What TO DO instead:
- ASK FOR HELP. Was Lucy and Ethel’s supervisor intimidating? Yes. Were the stakes high? Yes. But could they have done worse if they asked for guidance? Probably not. The only place they had to go was up.
- ADMIT YOUR FAULTS. Acknowledging your own weaknesses is uncomfortable for everyone. Which is why we have so much respect for people who own their flaws and failures. Avoiding transparency about the status of a project could end up backfiring.
- LAUGH! You should reflect on your performance and think about what can be improved but don’t let sub-par execution prevent you from moving onwards and upwards. It’s important to take your work seriously, but not yourself.
Oh and one more thing: Don’t stuff yourself with chocolate. Been there. Done that. Not pretty.
How do you manage multiple or multiplying tasks?