I’m a “Yes” girl. Can I finish that by Friday? Yes. Would I be able to cover for someone’s vacation? Yes. Do I have time to help out another project? Yes. If there’s an assignment that needs completed or an extra mile that needs run, I’ll do it. Maybe it was youthful exurberance, but in years past, it seemed a lot easier to actually live up to all those yes’s.
Now, work isn’t the only thing taking my time. In fact, there’s more than one work competing for every possible minute. For the first time in my life, I’ve overcommitted. Before, I could always work hard enough to get everything done and all of a sudden, it’s no longer possible.
My name is Lindsay and I’m officially in over my head. There needs to be a support group for this. I’m pretty sure that trying to do everything at once is a little like an addiction for me. It’s hard to step away from. I have a very real fear of seeming incapable or lazy. But at the same time, if I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits, I might end up proving that I can’t do everything. So which is worse?
I found out the hard way. Agreeing to complete something and then failing is definitely worse than admitting you’re too busy from the start. Nothing has hurt my confidence and overloaded my stress quotient like dropping the ball on a project that I’ve agreed to. In fact, it gets me so frustrated that I have a hard time concentrating on other work, sending me into a spiral of panic and more missed deadlines.
Once I finally had to admit that I was not super-human and I could not complete absolutely anything anytime I wanted, I realized that my bosses liked me better that way. They didn’t want an employee who worked herself to death. They want someone who is dependable and focused. Focus is hard to get when you’re going at a hundred miles a minute.
Even when asking for a favor or assigning me additional work, my bosses have to trust that I’ll only agree to things that I have a realistic chance of completing. Saying “No” isn’t always the negative that I assumed it to be. Sometimes, refusing to take on too much means that you’re self-aware and accountable for the projects that you do agree to. It shows that you know how to prioritize.
I still wish that I could be Wonder Woman. I would truly love to work my ass off from 8 to 5, have a delicious home-cooked meal with my family and then continue to work until after midnight. Believe it or not, I really thought that this was a workable set-up. It’s not. Not for me at least. And my bosses are ok with that.