Today I give you 4 strategies for dealing with over-commitment.
In Live to Work I said I was loosing out. That I spent too much time working and supporting others.
Now I’m taking control. I’ve re-evaluated my priorities. And I’ve learned that I can master the things that stress me out. Here are 4 strategies for dealing with over-commitment.
Dealing With Over-Commitment
My source of stress is over-commitment. And dealing with this—whether at home or at work—is to manage time more effectively and to learn to say no more often.
The following strategies for dealing with over-commitment help free us from stress.
#1 Know Your Priorities
It’s not surprising that setting priorities leads to a more efficient life. I have five. Here they are in order of importance:
- Everything else
Having priorities helps us to keep our focus and enthusiasm. What’s more, having priorities is a first step toward saying no. When we know what we want we are more deliberate. Our commitments, obligations and responsibilities have context. This is empowering.
Two of Daniel Goleman’s 6 leadership styles negatively affect work climate and performance. These are the coercive and pace setting styles.
When leaders adopt the pace setting style they set high standards for performance. (“Do as I do, now.”) Take this to extremes and you’ll have a team that’s overwhelmed, over-committed and burned out.
It’s what you do that counts. Not how much you do.
#2 Know Your Managers’ Priorities
When we’re at work our priority is work. We have objectives. They were set by your manager. Yet work keeps piling up. Something has to give.
Therefore, we need to know our manager’s priorities. And those of our manager’s manager. Knowing their priorities—what makes them tick—helps us to negotiate our work load.
#3 Learn to Say No
Or rather, learn to say no for now.
Saying no is unhelpful and conveys the wrong message. So don’t say it! As an alternative, postpone or renegotiate. It’s more useful to say something like “Yes, I can help with this. I’ll start on it next week once I’ve finished the… Is that okay with you?”
When juggling it is inevitable that something is dropped. Therefore, it is better to say no for now than to fail. People remember you for your failures more readily than for your successes. So stop letting things fall between the cracks because you are over-committed.
#4 Delegate Often
A man has to know his limitations. – Harry Callahan
Not only am I prone to over-committing, I’m also reluctant to delegate tasks. I guess I like to be in control. However, I do have a great team of willing and highly competent people.
The reality is we cannot get everything done by ourself. Indeed if we could we wouldn’t need a team! Therefore, we must either learn to delegate well or be buried in the work others should and could be doing. It is our responsibility to delegate tasks to others and control the outcomes. The more we delegate effectively the greater our success.
Image: Ben Sutherland.
Have Your Say
What strategies do you have for dealing with over-commitment? Please join the discussion.