An executive acquaintance of mine was just promoted to a C-Suite role, a significant promotion. While she is excited, she has not yet found a replacement for her previous position. In the meantime, she is doing both jobs. When I asked her how it was going, she responded, “just trying to get it all done, without dropping any balls.”
This conversation reminded me of one I had with one of my clients who was lamenting the challenges one of his executives has with burnout. In this case, the CEO said, “I wish this executive would learn to drop some balls, his effort to get everything done is what is causing his burnout”!
For those of us who want to dot every I and cross every T (I admit I am one of them), the ‘to-do list’ can seem endless. This wise CEO’s response “go ahead, drop some balls”; just choose the ones you will drop.
What if instead of starting each day with a to-do list, we also created, in the words of Tom Peters, a “to-don’t list”? Here are some examples to get you started:
- What if you reviewed your email once or twice daily and let everyone know that is your plan?
- What if you paused and asked yourself, does this email, call, text, or inquiry require a response?
- What if you paused before saying “yes”?
For more on this topic, check out Dan Pink’s Pinkcast 1.16.