Business today is a buffet of projects, deadlines and activities. Sometimes the selection of obligations is overwhelming and demotivating. Are others giving you too much from the business buffet? Are you taking too much from the business buffet? Either way, it will give you heartburn. Forget the Tums. There’s a better way to get past the bloat.
Speak up. I can remember when I was asked to help work on a planning project with my boss. He was a great boss, too. The project grew to 20% of my time. That meant even though I still had the same sales goals, I had to achieve them with 20% less time. Doing both well was really impossible. The challenge began to stress me. You can’t be in two places at once. You can’t create more than 24 hours in a day. Neither could I. I finally told my boss that I was facing a different challenge than the rest of the team. I wasn’t getting my sales goals reduced and I was doing this project as well. Something had to give. He agreed with me. I think he didn’t really think about the actual time constraints I was facing. When he understood what I was doing he did cut back the time I was involved on this special project. What happens if you’re in this type of tough situation? You have to explain the situation clearly so the listener understands the unfairness of it and makes the change. Don’t wait till the project is over either. You run the risk of doing a poor job and that will hurt your credibility in the futre.
Watch Out! Other times, I’ve found myself working on projects that suddenly have “scope creep.” You know what I mean. The project starts with one objective. Suddenly your mission includes five other objectives. The work increases astronomically while the resources remain the same. When you have a team of people working with you then you do have options. First, fight the scope creep. I find that the “dreamers” on a team are really good about psyching up others with their exciting proposals of what-if scenarios. Their impassioned presentation of ideas snowballs into possibility because during those six seconds it all sounds so good. Once the excitement is gone, there’s all the work to implement the ideas. I’m all for creativity. There comes a point where the blue sky has to stop and you have to enter the real world of budgets and time constraints. What can you do? Make sure the creativity portion of your planning has a beginning and more important—it has an end. Once your group creates all the cool ideas for your projects, you should get agreement to pick the best. Then move on. You can’t be creating new ideas once you are in the middle of implementing the new ideas you just developed.
Business today has more to choose from to overwhelm you. It is just like those expansive Sunday brunch buffets. You have to choose wisely or you’ll quickly eat too much. At work, biting off more than you can chew is even more important to maintain your sanity.