strategic consultant to:  

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I broke my own rule again this week… I over-extended, over-promised and, in keeping all my commitments, I exhausted myself.

That made me mad (at myself).  Then two of my clients reported doing the same thing — focusing on the less-important promises and neglecting the more meaningful work deadlines, then rushing to catch up.

Bad stars?  Over-zealous networking?  Too-generous offers of favors?

So often I tell myself (and my clients),”You don’t have to raise your hand.”  Or, “when making an offer that is a favor, set a reasonable and extended timeline of expectation, to allow your priorities to be completed first.”

Of course, sometimes we just get into “administrivity head” and want to clear up our lists… even to the detriment of our real deadlines upon which our business depends.  The administrivity head is useful for those tasks you may despite (like filing, and handing insurance issues, and cleaning up your blogpost categories), or which pile up behind your desk and make a clutter you cannot escape, and which worries you that you have forgotten something important in the pile.

But, better to devote a half-day to cleaning up those messes, and fulfilling those favors, after the business-critical work is done, when you have no immediate deadlines.

One of my clients actually scheduled himself 3 hours next week to handle the “follow up” outreach he had missed doing this week.  Separate from his two-hour block of time he has on his calendar for end-of-week administration.

I bet this sounds really creepy at some level, scheduling in the miscellany that needs to be attended to.  But the miscellany needs to be done.  And the scheduling works.  And you can do it with a clear head, because the business deliverables are done.

I’m going to try it out, again.