Overwhelmed

People are so adaptable...up to a point. Speaking strictly for myself, I usually discover that point when I'm about two steps past it. Business requirements today are such that we feel the need to do more and more just to stay in place.

For anyone in the media, the world we once knew so well and traveled so easily looks like an alien moonscape these days. The situation is much the same for printers, too. Everyone's talking about inkjet, you have to consider the environmental impact of your work, and labor laws are something else to contend with. There is confusion about what the new healthcare legislation will require of employers, and there are plenty of people who want to give you the answers. The problem is their answers are all different and it's hard to know who to trust.

Then there's social media. You want to be LinkedIn with all your customers, to send clever tweets, and to have tons of fans for your business on Facebook. Oh, maybe you should do a cool, funny video in your printshop and send the link to all your customers and prospects. Who knows, maybe it would go viral!

But even with all the new tasks that you feel you have to take on, you still have a business to run. (Or still have a magazine to put out.) So you run faster and faster, work longer hours, and delegate as much as you can.

Still, there comes a day when you walk into your office and look at a desk piled high with essential business duties that have been pushed aside to make room for the new work. After an impromptu primal scream session, you ask yourself, "How the heck did this happen?" That's why it's so important to set priorities and to honor them. Before we get to the need for scream therapy, let's dig out everything on the desk and organize it, prioritize it, and tackle one job at a time until we reach the bottom of the pile.

Years ago, Tom Crouser advocated putting things into three piles labeled "Important but not Urgent," "Urgent but not Important," and "Not Urgent and not Important." You work through the first pile immediately. Work through the second pile after the first one is complete, and toss out the third pile.

I still like that approach. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find three boxes. Judging from the look of my desk, they'll need to be big ones.

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