It’s really easy to do less, nothing even, when we feel overwhelmed. Between watering the pets, feeding the plants, shredding the credit card offers, and filing the TPS reports, life, as my mom would say, “gets tedious sometimes.” Before even starting something new, the overwhelming comes like an unexpected Airbandb guest to crash for 2 weeks.
You know the drill: It starts with “But…”
- I’ll have to get approval from my boss
- My boss is wearing the dreaded purple tie today, and we all know what that means
- My computer will take 13 1/2 minutes to boot up
- I’ll have to make that uncomfortable phone call
- <overeager coworker> thinks they have the plans to rule the universe
- I’ll disturb the neighbors
- If I fail, it will be embarrassing
- Compliance, need I say more
- <indescriminate despised coworker> will have to work with me on this
Need I go on? We’re quick to eulogize an idea before it’s ever been Christened thanks to the tortuous guest, the overwhelming.
I’m famous, infamous perhaps, with my team for always saying “let’s bang it out in 30 minutes.” Can the actual task be complete in 30 minutes?Maybe, maybe not, but if we don’t try to bang it out in 30 minutes then we can spend 15 minutes getting being courted by overwhelmingness. Simply said, there’s an old adage that does a fine job of saying the same thing: don’t eat an elephant at one time, but this isn’t the first time that I’ve broken Twain’s rule “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”
You can develop a love affair with good ideas, or you can have a quickie. You can do things you never thought possible, and you can fail miserably. You can see the world, or you can be overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to be unencumbered. Tell the overwhelming overwhelmingness to take a hike—even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
Thanks to David Mao for letting me use his picture under CC license.