Everyone knows that the key to time management is to “take things off your plate,” so why is it so difficult to lighten the load that weighs us down?
I remember my Dad telling us a story of how my Grandmother scolded my Uncle for carrying two sacks of potatoes down the cellar stairs. “That’s a lazy man’s load!!” she hollered, and made him put the sacks down, and carry them back up the stairs one by one, and then carry them back down the stairs, one by one. As a child, I couldn’t fathom what was so lazy about carrying two heavy sacks of potatoes at the same time.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that indeed, yes, carrying two many projects at the same time is truly, a lazy man’s load. Not lazy in the context that we tend to think about…. when I think of “lazy” I picture someone not getting out of bed until noon, not putting the milk carton back in the refrigerator, or leaving their socks on the bedroom floor. No, my grandmother was describing a different kind of lazy – she was describing being inefficient.
My grandmother knew that if my uncle continued to carry two sacks at a time, he would wear out, he would get slow, and the other boys who were carrying one sack at a time would eventually do more work than him. She knew that in order to get the work done, you had to pace yourself. Taking on too much at one time may seem industrious, but in fact, it is really foolish, and sometimes, you are just being a show-off. My grandmother recognized his efforts as being counter-productive.T
This morning I am remembering my grandmother’s story, and I am reviewing all the heavy sacks that I am carrying. All the groups and clubs I belong to, my business, my work, my household chores, my responsibilities – all the half completed projects, and all the looming deadlines… and I am wondering if I too, am being lazy according to my grandmothers standards. Yes, I get a lot done, but I can also feel overburdened, and I am sure it’s prohibiting me from being the most efficient I could be…. so what sacks do I need to put down? While it may seem like it will take me longer to get to the finish line by not doing SO much, at least I will get there without exhausting myself, and therefore, not being any use to anyone. I guess it’s time to lighten my load, and stop being so damn lazy.
Where can you lighten your load?
What holds you back from being more efficient?
Do you tend to multi-task, or take on one project at a time?I’d love to hear from you!
Until then, Hit the Heights –
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
Business Leadership Guide