“It is not the load but the OVERLOAD that kills.” – Spanish Proverb.
Overload is a dangerous condition leaders need to avoid to be effective. We often tend to take on more than we should causing overload.
The danger of overload lies in the often imperceptible effect on the truth we believe about our lives and our personal success. It influences how we live and make decisions. Allowing overload in our lives leads to unnecessary busyness, achieving little of permanent value and leading to unnecessary regrets.
Carry The Load but Avoid Overload
We all carry a certain amount of load. It is impossible to get away it. However, as the Spanish proverb says, it’s not the load but the overload that kills. Normal load in our lives consists of financial, career, emotional and physical elements. Carrying a normal load normally does not create any problems. It creates a certain level of stress in our lives, enough to mobilize and motivate us to perform. It becomes a problem when we start to experience overload in one or multiple areas in our lives.
Overload happens when we allow “too much” in to our lives. We stretch ourselves to the very edge of our ability. It creates a constant state of urgency, impairing our ability to make well thought through decisions. We run around from one urgent issue to the next, regardless of whether it is important or not.
Overload robs you of the ability to take a moment and make a decision in line with your personal life plan and the legacy you are busy crafting. You start losing sight of your life goals and your circle of influence shrinks. You constantly live at the very edge of your ability, whether its in your emotional, financial or professional life.
Overload happens in different ways to different people. However there are a few principles everyone can follow to reduce overload in our lives.
Reduce Overload by Realizing Your Limits
The process starts by realizing you are constantly living at the edge of your limits. Secondly you must identify the areas where you are overextended. These areas are typically have the most noise and clutter. It is where you feel least in control.
The first step is to reduce some of the noise and removing the clutter. It may be as simple as limiting the amount of news reports you listen to – just switch off the radio!
Reduce Over Extension
Reducing noise and clutter allows you to start identifying bigger issues in your life. These are typically the areas where you feel overextended. Start by cutting back little by little. This may be as uncomplicated as saying NO to one dinner party per month, if you have weekly dinner parties.
Saying NO is one of the most powerful tools you have to reduce overload.
Practice the skill of saying NO. Do this in every area of your life. Say NO to the extra credit card and reduce financial overload. Say NO to the second slice of Chocolate cake, and reduce some physical overload.
Saying NO enough times will soon create small amounts of margin. When you have said NO enough times, you will soon realize that you have created a little reserve in every aspect of your life. Soon you will experience an ability to focus again, not only on yourself, but also on the humanity in others and respond to in kind.
In which areas of your life do you need to reduce overload?