Top 3 Takeaways from “Stop Trying to Cram it All In”

We often joke that The Roundtable is like Hotel California – participants may graduate from our programs but they never truly leave us! As part of our commitment to build community and make an impact, we continue to support past participant learning in a variety of ways, including through exclusive alumni only webinars. Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming The Difference Lab who shared their thoughts on how to “stop cramming it all in” with our alumni, who are all very busy leaders. It’s hard to distill this knowledge packed session down to 3 key takeaways, but here’s what I’ve been thinking about since our conversation last week.

We live in an “add culture”. For busy high-achieving people, it is easy to feel like “I must be doing something wrong” when our to-do lists always feel incomplete. But the reality is, we live in a culture that will continue to add new things to our plate (in both work and life) endlessly. Since many of us are both people pleasers and high achievers we just try to cram it all in so that no one is left disappointed. The reality is that not only is this not sustainable, but it also just isn’t the path to a balanced work/life existence. Since time is finite the only way to gain control and stop cramming it all in is to master the art of Intentional Subtraction.

Intentional subtraction (like all behaviour change) is hard. Saying no and letting go of things that don’t truly matter is really hard. It requires an honest look at the stories we tell ourselves and the discipline to be very intentional in how we spend our time. If you hear yourself saying “but I am the only one who has the history” or “I need to review that before it goes out” or “I’d better attend the meeting to ensure nothing gets missed” you might be missing opportunities to remove unnecessary tasks from your day. Think about what is really essential and how you can enable others to complete tasks more independently.

Subtraction doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. By breaking down tasks into smaller components, considering your own energy patterns, time-boxing time spent on activities and substituting out, you can subtract from your day while still maintaining involvement in things that are most important.

Like any behaviour change, intentional subtraction starts with honest awareness of your current situation, a prioritization on where to start and a set of small, intentional actions that you will stick to on a daily basis to slowly make an meaningful change. Read more about intentional subtraction and sign up for the Difference Labs newsletter here for more tips to keep you and your team subtracting.

Also, keep your eye out for our next Ask the Expert coming up on April 18th at 9am EST. Glain will be welcoming Nathan Regier, PhD who will be talking about his new book Compassionate Accountability: What Makes Great Leaders Standout.



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