You Can’t Slow Things Down by Speeding Up – Or- You Need Time To Delegate

The problem with being over-busy is that you might actually get more done. But this only lasts for a brief period of time at the beginning. But invariably the rushing/exhausted pace leads to bad decisions and the inability to make judgments about what is really important. This is the lesson I am trying to work out in my own life.

Here is more fuel for the fire on this whole discussion:

“If I take some time off – on a holiday, over the weekend, or even just not checking mail in the evening after closing time – my decisions get better. I don’t just keep grinding it out, trying to get strategic by processing ever more detail. I start to notice what is really important so I can leave the rest, or delegate it to someone more qualified or more motivated to do that thing.

“When running at full tilt I don’t even have time to think of passing it off to others.  I’ve seen this over and over again in my work with people leading teams. Things are stuck not because there is no one to do them, but because the person who has them on their plate doesn’t have (or take) the time to clarify who should be doing them.”

Source: You Can’t Slow Things Down by Speeding Up – Next Action Associates

Why We Love Being Burned Out- It Is Easier

Why We love burnout

I was reading some old journal entries. This is a great practice that helps put our blessings and struggles in perspective over the long haul. Too often I exaggerate the severity of the average crisis and forget the many blessings. Anyway, I came across something that I wrote last year during a time of exhaustion. At that moment I was trying to unravel why I have such a hard time resting and so often tend towards busyness and burnout. Reading this old entry was helpful for me, and perhaps it will encourage you.
“Why do we like/love the burnout trail? Being busy makes us feel important or even superior.

This level of busyness [to the point of exhaustion and burnout] though hard in the long run is emotionally easier in the short run Than:

  • Defining priorities
  • Saying no to people and risking their disappointment
  • Facing the fear of missing out
  • Disciplining myself to follow through on decisions and priorities
  • Doing the hard work of thinking ahead about calendar issues
  • Investing in people and giving them feedback”

I was struck at how often frenetic busyness is the way I avoid the really challenging and important emotional work that needs to be done.  God help me to grow!

Is It Too Little Butter, or Too Much Bread? Another Brilliant Blog Post From Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the master of the short blog post. And that is refreshing! I follow his blog by email and have read several of his books. He always has a unique angle on things. This post was really enjoyable, and I read it out loud to my wife. I thought I would share it with you here. If you don’t get his stuff, wander over to his site and sign up.

BTW, in addition to his blog he is always working on cool projects. I listened to his entrepreneur “Start UP School” podcast a while ago and was challenged. Find it here:

“Bilbo Baggin’s great quote about being stretched thin (“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”) reveals a profound truth:

Most individuals and organizations complain of not having enough butter. We need more resources, we say, to cover this much territory. We need more (time/money/staff) to get the job done.

What happens if instead of always seeking more butter, we find the discipline to cover less bread?

Spreading our butter too thin is a form of hiding. It helps us be busy, but makes it unlikely we will make an impact.

It turns out that doing a great job with what we’ve got is the single best way to get a chance to do an even better job with more, next time.”

Source: Seth’s Blog: Is it too little butter, or too much bread?

Prisoners To Our Own Appetites. Now THAT Is A Story

Jail cell

This is an amazing account from Mark Buchanan. It is a strange story that illustrates how we are often prisoners to our own appetites.

“Thomas Costain, in his book The Three Edwards, relates a historical episode from the fourteenth century. Two brothers, Raynald and Edward, fought bitterly. Edward mounted war against Raynald, captured him alive, and imprisoned him in Nieuwkerk Castle.

“But it was no ordinary prison cell. The room was reasonably comfortable. And there was no lock on the door—not a bolt, not a padlock, not a crossbeam. Raynald was free to come or go at will. In fact, it was better than that: Edward promised Raynald full restoration of all rights and titles on a single condition: that he walk out of that room.

“Only Raynald couldn’t. The door was slightly narrower than a typical door. And Raynald was enormously fat. He was swaddled in it. He could not, with all his squeezing and heaving, get himself outside his cell. He might more easily have passed a camel through a needle.

“So in order to walk free and reclaim all he’d lost, he had only to do one thing: lose weight. That would have come easily to most prisoners, with their rations of bread and water.

“It did not come easy to Raynald. Edward had disguised a great cruelty as an act of generosity. Every day, Edward had Raynald served with the richest, sauciest foods, savory and sweet, and ample ale and wine to boot. Raynald ate and ate and grew larger and larger. He spent ten years trapped in an unlocked cell, freed only after Edward’s death. His health was so ruined, he died soon himself.”

Buchanan’s book “The Rest Of God” is delightful and full of great content and excellent writing. It explores something that is oddly missing from many discussions of the Sabbath, the issue of rest.

Buchanan, Mark (2007-03-11). The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (pp. 165-166). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

How Great Leaders Avoid Burnout | Inc.com

Burnout

Add this to the long list of people talking about burnout and rest.

The article makes some good observations and important suggestions. #1 is great.  Having a group of trusted mentors that can tell you hard truths is GREAT advice.

But the second paragraph stood out to me, because it makes a naive recommendation. It goes like this, “If you want to avoid burnout, don’t measure success by money or power. Instead use a 3rd metric. Measure success by changing the world”  Ha.

Haha

Hahahahaha

“Fighting the good fight” can lead to burnout just as quickly as working for Wall street.

Anyone who has worked with churches or nonprofits knows that “fighting the good fight” can lead to burnout just as quickly as working for Wall street.  In fact, it might be even more devastating. When you work for a “cause” it is easy to believe that since you are working for something virtuous that you ought to be successful and appreciated.  And when you experience the opposite, that instead you are often opposed and criticized, you may find yourself suffering from burnout + disillusionment. I can provide a long list of these people for you right now, right off the top of my head.

Here is  the highlight from the article:

“One day in 2007, Arianna Huffington found herself lying on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood. After an MRI, a CAT scan, and an ECG, she learned there was no underlying problem–it was exhaustion which had caused her to faint, her head smashing the corner of her desk and cutting her eye.

“The incident prompted her to ask deeper questions about her life of 18-hour workdays, seven days a week. By the time she delivered a commencement speech at Smith College in 2013, she was preaching the gospel of a good night’s sleep and asking graduates to measure their lives by a “third metric”–changing the world for the better–in addition to those timeless standards, money and power. ” (emphasis mine)

Having a cause is important. But it is not enough. We need wisdom in how we serve the cause.

via How Great Leaders Avoid Burnout | Inc.com.