We often take on “one more project” because we think that we have some time in our schedule to handle a little bit more. “It’ll only take a little time,” we tell ourselves.
It takes a while before we truly, deeply learn that available time (by itself) is one of the worst gauges for our capacity. We have more time in the day than we have energy and attention, and this truth bears out substantially with the “just one more project” mentality.
Every project, to be successful, requires some time, energy, and attention. It requires planning and metrics of success. It requires decision-making juice when it stacks up to other projects that need to get done. Completing stuff inevitably takes longer than we originally estimate, even when we know that it’ll take longer than we originally estimate. In short, it’s one more ball to juggle.
I’ve yet to meet a changemaker who has a manageable list of stuff to do. Even when we’re disciplined, our goals are ambitious and self-propogating. Adding to the heap doesn’t help and “one more project” does exactly that.
Let’s imagine the flipside of saying No to that “little project.” It’s one less thing to manage. There’s no chance of the cascading sliding project phenomenon whereby one delayed project causes cascading delayed projects. There are no successes to plot and achieve or fall short on.
All of that energy could be applied to the really high value projects or simply not applied at all, allowing you to build physical, emotional, and mental whitespace so that truly great things can happen. (Click to tweet – thanks!)
The next time you find yourself considering taking on “just one more project” because “it won’t take that long,” I hope you’ll think again. We want your best, not just one more thing. And you deserve your best, too.
One last thing: feel free to look at your project list and ruthlessly cull the “one more projects” from it. Those little projects breed like rabbits when put together, don’t they?