The Never Ending "To-Do" List!

“I can’t believe all the things that are on my plate.” How many times have you heard that or said it yourself? Every leader I coach has too much on their plate and as long as the stress isn’t too great, they love it! It’s only when you get mad or face a serious setback that it suddenly seems to be too much to handle.

One leader I coached became so emotional about his unending ‘to do’ list that one day he simply stood up, swung his arm across his desktop and knocked everything onto the floor. In reality, he loves being busy and, at times, loves feeling overwhelmed. However, when his stress level exceeds his limits he gets angry and reacts.

Sometimes we’re pushed to our limits and overreact because we engage in disruptive behaviors. I guarantee you can enjoy being busy and overwhelmed, without overreacting if you minimize certain behaviors.

Hyper-responsibility – Take a look at your “to do” list; in reality how many of those things really need to be done and how many can you delegate? Hyper-responsibility means taking too much responsibility for things that you’re not directly responsible for. Believe it or not, there are things you cannot help; for example, your son failing English or a subordinate not reaching his goals.

Saying “Yes” when you need to say “No” – Oftentimes leaders will agree to do a task when they have absolutely no time left in their schedule to accomplish it. This usually happens because you have a hard time saying “No” to someone. You don’t want to hurt their feelings or it’s a colleague who did you a favor in the past and you feel the need to reciprocate. Keep in mind, if you get angry about saying “Yes” to something it means you don’t have the energy to do it. Just say “No, thank you.”

Guilt over poor choices – Let it go. If you are growing as a leader you are going to make bad decisions along the way; at work and at home. Admit the poor choice, apologize if necessary, and get back to doing what you do best, leading people.

Expert Reactions:

"This blog post by Dr. Rausch is a terrific reminder for overloaded leaders. Sometimes the reason we are feeling overwhelmed is due to our own issues, like not delegating, saying no to further commitments when there's too much on our plates or recognizing that others should be responsible for their own issues. It's great to have "to do" lists, but also great to look it over with a critical eye and see if anything can be either eliminated or delegated. Dr. Rausch's blog contains many valuable reminders that help leaders stay healthy." - Laura Akers, Former prosecutor, Speech Coach, Keynote Speaker, Presentation Skills Expert, Leadership, Writer and Activist

"The Never Ending “To-Do” List gives leaders permission to let go. As an emerging executive, it can be very scary to delegate. There is that inner voice telling you to do it all, be it all and that you can’t trust anyone else to do a task as well as you can. That might be true, but your responsibility is to guide/train your staff to be their best, not do it for them. Saying No comes easier with practice and that list will begin to dwindle down. Guilt over mistakes is wasting your talents. Thanks for the reminders for some and lessons for others Dr. Rausch." - Jennifer Takagi, Coach, Speaker, Trainer and Best Selling Author

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Dr. Bob Rausch

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