I’m not very good at saying no especially when the opportunity is appealing. I would imagine most people would fall into this category, yet, I seem to take it to the extreme. My colleague, Jake, even made me a post-it “NO” to put on my computer during an offsite so that I wouldn’t be tempted to respond with “I’ll do that”. I laughed when he gave it to me. However, I then actually looked at it about 5 times before then end of the offsite to remind myself that I’m at capacity.

Here’s my problem: I rarely drop a ball. That sounds great but really this only propels me to think I can do more. I’m extremely organized. For example, I have conference session materials done months in advance. So I just keep saying yes and then suddenly, my anxiety sky rockets because I don’t want to drop a ball. I do whatever I need to handle to ensure things are ready to go. This usually means that I don’t take enough down time mentally, which impacts my quality and ability to create.

For instance, on my plate consistently right now: Organize Agile2017, Organize Leadership Summit – Vegas, Techwell conference tutorials (2 of them), Scrum Gathering – San Diego conference session, submissions to Mile High and other conferences, client coaching/training, public training for coaching course (marketing), further out public courses (CSM and Training from the BACK of the room) marketing, blog posts, course updates, create a new course, plus all that wonderful admin work (expenses, emails, etc). In some ways, I look at this list and think…that’s not that much but is the multi-tasking context switch of these items that can catch up to me. Unlike as a practitioner, my days, my hours, can be quite dramatic in terms of focus swings. I love it and hate it all at the same time. I’m never bored and always feel like I’m delivering value but I can also feel very overwhelmed too.

So I’m trying little things to help:

  • Leverage Trello and Use Blocks of Time: I now put tasks in with a target date for working on them. Not just when they are due but when am I going to schedule dedicated time to focus on the task. For instance, today I have a few hours set aside to write blog posts.  To concentrate in on getting a few posts in the queue, which will lower my stress of not having some ready in time.
  • Pair with others: I’m more cautious to agree when I am not sure I have time to work with someone else. This seems to really hold me to my work in progress limits – as I never want to be the cause of someone else missing a goal.
  • Permission to pause: Seems silly but sometimes I just mentally need to tell myself “things will be fine, take a break”. That break often helps me produce results even quicker than if I had kept trying to force myself.
  • Really review calendar: When that conference speaking request comes in, I often would just look at those specific dates for availability. Now I’m reviewing what is before and after. How many weeks would I travel? When would I have time to create, etc?
  • Continue to ask for help: I have an amazing Agile for All team. I have an amazing Agile2017 program team. They will help but it’s on me to ask.

How do you help to limit your work in progress to something reasonable?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.