When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself– Paul Coelho
- Are you constantly saying yes to work from your boss and stakeholders in the belief that it will progress you to the next level?
- Do you feel overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed?
- Are you constantly context switching and not spending the time needed on each project?
- Are you missing the gym because you have too much to do?
- Are you feeling guilty about missing more time with your family?
- Is there any time left for you?
When you have your head down focused on hitting the next level, you do whatever it takes. But are you creating risks for you, your team, your career and your stakeholders?
Have You Too Many Balls in the Air?
With so many balls in the air, you are bound to drop one or two. When you do, what impact is that going to have on you, your team or stakeholders?
Are Your Team Losing Respect for You?
Are you and your team constantly working long hours to bring the work in on time and fire-fighting quality issues because the work is done when people are tired, and corners are cut to hit imposed deadlines?
Are your team thinking – “thanks boss for committing us to all this new work?”
The team respects you and will go the extra mile for you today, but how many extra miles will they go before you exhaust their respect?
Litmus test – If you get promoted, will they say you deserve
Is Your Health Starting to Suffer?
Your employee handbook should come with the same type of health warning as you see on cigarette packets i.e. you career could seriously damage your health.
Stress, overwork overwhelm all come with an impact on your health. Are you losing sleep, getting headaches, always exhausted?
Listen to your body, it is telling you something. If you don’t listen to your body, then listen to your family and friends.
Are You Missing Family Time?
As a father of two beautiful teenage children, I can tell you that they grow up fast. Before you know it, they will have their own lives and you would have missed some of that special family time. When I say time, I mean time where you have the energy to enjoy and be present.
When you are about to say yes to your boss or stakeholders, think about your children’s faces when you tell them you are stealing more time from them to do so-called important work.
Now take that feeling and think about each person in your team as they will be feeling it too.
When my children were really young, I took them to a Christmas party at work. As we were standing in the queue to get our faces painted, one of my peers pointed to me and said to two children of a colleague who was in my team – “See this man, this is the man who keeps your dad late at work, so he can’t spend time with you”. I will never forget the looks my colleague’s children and wife gave me. Although it was said in jest and we laughed it off, it was in reality true.
5 Tips to Mitigate the Risks
- Prioritise your commitments with company value and team in mind
- Put in time barriers for you to go home, go to the gym, develop yourself
- Work out what high priority commitments you can comfortably deliver with these barriers in place
- Have some hard conversations about the ones you can’t – this may help How to Deal with an Irrational Stakeholder
- More importantly, learn to say NO and manage expectations