3 Cures for a Chronic Business Problem

September 22, 2021

There’s a chronic disease making the rounds in the business community. No, I’m not talking about COVID.

Do you have it?  Probably so.

See if you recognize yourself in this scenario.

You’re an overachiever.  That’s what overachievers do.  You commit.

Then you commit again.  And again.  And finally…you break, stress out, freak out or come to your boiling point.

Let’s just call it like it is. You are an Over-Committer.

You commit to your business, the kids’ school events, checking in on your parents, the monthly book club, your golf league, volunteering at a community or church event, serving on a board, making dinner for an elderly couple, speaking at an event…what have I missed?

Yes, you have that chronic disease.  Let’s call it “Over-Commitment-itis.”

I get it. For some of these things, there’s no choice but to commit. And the others?

What’s really going on is that you aren’t setting priorities or establishing boundaries. And even though many people wear “busy” as a badge of honor, it’s not really a good thing.

The good news is that Over-Commitment-itis can be cured.

Here are three things you can do right now if any of what you’ve sounds way too familiar.

  1. Figure out your Top 4 Priorities: Identify the 4 critical places you must spend your time.  Only 4.  It’s easy to believe you have way more than 4.  But you don’t.  Beyond 4, the request is probably important or even nice to do.  But it’s not critical.
  2. Practice this: “No.” Just learn to say no.  The next person who asks you to do something that doesn’t land within your Top 4 Priorities (that means 4…not 4 ½ or 12), beg off.  Be polite about it.  You can do it. It gets easier the more you practice.
  3. Polish Your Negotiating Skills: When someone asks you to do something outside your Top 4 Priorities that you’d really like to do, see if you can negotiate.  Can you do it later?  Could you oversee the request rather than do it yourself?  Can you introduce them to someone who does it better than you?

When you practice these three things, you’ll find yourself feeling better. You are recovering from Over-Commitment-it is. Now that you have a little more breathing room…

Go forth and do great things,

Martha & Chris