If you keep running down hill, you just might fall "arse over elbow"

There never seems to be enough hours in the day. I remember when I worked in corporate, I often had a lot of work to do, but I also had periods of relative calm to clean out the ole inbox. As an entrepreneur who is working to help other entrepreneurs, I am also trying to live my own speeches – “take time for myself”, “write everyday”, “exercise regularly”, etc. Oh, and “give time for being creative and innovative”.

Sure, let me get right on that.

There was an interesting article that I stumbled on recently from Harvard Business Review (yes, they do have articles that can help the little guys, too) about the Acceleration Trap (full article available here)

A fellow blogger pulled out some interesting points from the article.

“Over-accelerated companies exhibit at least one of three distinct patterns of destructive activity:

  • Activity Overload – Employees are overloaded with too many activities and don’t have the time or the resources required to do their jobs.

  • Multiloading – Employees are asked to do too many different kinds of activities, leaving them and the company unfocused, and activities misaligned.

  • Perpetual Loading – Management gets into the habit of creating constant change, depriving workers of any hope to recharge and refresh themselves on the heels of an intense period of work.”

Sound familiar? In the case of HBR and Performance Dynamics, they are referencing plural employees. Whether you have many, a few or just you, does not matter – if it sounds like you, regardless of the grammatical changes, then take notice!

As with many problems, there are also solutions. The first, of course, is to admit you have a problem. Done.

The next is to take some time as the year winds down (or gears up) and do the following four activities:

– Clarify your strategy (What are you doing, why and for whom?)

– Stop less important work (If you have to, put everything on a list and start crossing it off – leave the list up as a reminder)

– Create a system to select projects (There’s an app for that…or several. I also just use Excel to keep track, then store that on my desktop where I can see it everyday. Email tasks are another trick. Find something that works for you.)

– Declare an end to the insanity! Stop trying to sprint everyday and do 100 things. They won’t all get done. In fact, if you keep running at that pace, you won’t be running uphill – you’ll actually be running downhill and picking up speed. When you lose your footing at that point…does my blog title make sense now?

If you start taking some of these items into account now when the company is smaller, it becomes part of the culture. Much harder to change later on, but it’s never too late.

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