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« Top 10 Reasons Simple Scanning is the Best of All Possible Systems | Main | The Biggest Problems in Time Management - Intro »

Problem 1 - Too Much Work

Maybe having too much work is the the commonest complaint from people who are desperately trying to get everything done. And usually people blame their boss for giving them too much to do.

On the other hand self-employed people are often even busier. So who’s the boss there?

And it’s well known that recently retired people frequently claim to be busier than they were when they were working.

The message is that whether you are employed, self-employed or retired you have a lot more control over the amount of work you have to do than you think. Being overworked is as often as not a self-inflicted injury.

You know when you have too much work because you can’t keep on top of it. And since being on top of your work gives you a great deal of energy, not being on top of it drains yours energy so that you get even further behind. You are into a vicious circle of too much work and less energy to do the work.

However remember that work doesn’t just appear from nowhere.

Work comes from our commitments, that is to say our commitments to ourselves, to our families and friends, to our work, to our society. Every time we add a commitment we add more work and decrease our energy. Every time we subtract a commitment we reduce our work and increase our energy. We need to find the spot at which we have maximum energy, and that will be where our work is exactly at the point where we can stay on top of it and achieve the maximum possible.

I have often said that a commitment is as much about what we are not going to do as about what we are going to do. Over-commitment leads to reducing our ability to meet our commitments. We have failed with a commitment if we have not protected the time that needs to be spent on it. A commitment should always be along the lines of “I have committed myself to A, and as a result I am not going to do B, C and D.”

Reader Comments (2)

That's interesting, Mark. Your post reminds me of Warren Buffett having a short To Do List for his top goals and an "Avoid At All Costs" list for everything else that might compete for his attention.
October 9, 2018 at 3:13 | Unregistered CommenterPaul B
Interesting Mark as said André GIDE or l'abbé SIEYES "to choose is to renounce"
Dealing with time systems and time management for years taught me 1 thing. We should spend at least 20 mn per day crossing engagement and choosing our core choice. Each engagement you take, each tasks takes time. So no I still right everything but before every thing I review my list asking myself Must I do this ? What is the consequence if I dont. If I doesn't I cross. So then I keep a very short list of stuff that I plan on my diary hour by hour. It is much better for me.
October 10, 2018 at 17:18 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter

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