Almost everyone I ask about their job essentially says: “So much to do in so little time.” How can this possibly be true when we have so many ‘labor-saving’ devices? Aren’t our phones, computers, watches, etc., supposed to help us obtain mastery over all of our various tasks? This is true for our personal lives, away from work, as well. And, our electronics allow our work life to bleed into our personal lives like never before.
The problem is that we now have the tools to do much more work than we used to. We don’t have as many administrative staff, because everyone can do their own typing on their own computer. You can do your own expenses in Excel. You can keep your own books easily in a multitude of different accounting systems. Filing? Do you even keep paper files anymore? Years and years of information is available on the cloud. Even in “non-office” jobs, automation has made it more possible for one person to do the work that formerly required two, or even several.
Simply seeking some information for a research project on the internet can lead to an endless rabbit hole of interesting articles. And as one article leads to another, do you ever get the project done, or the article written? Admittedly, this is something that happens to me quite often.
However, this then becomes an exercise in – how much can you do without compromising your mental and physical health? It is easier for you to do this thing yourself, but then, what is the cost of your headspace? I know my own to-do list is out of control. I currently have 85 reminders in my Outlook calendar. They are all screaming for my attention. How do I choose which one to focus on first? (Whoops, I accidentally hit “dismiss all” – now I have NO reminders, but I have double the stress, because what if I forget or miss something?)
I don’t have a solution for this. I don’t think our jobs are going to get less complicated any time soon. But, let’s give ourselves a little grace. Not everything is as urgent as we think it is. Very little that you do today is “brain surgery.” I have to tell myself that the world won’t end if I don’t have the bank account reconciled by the 5th of the month. Fifty years down the road, no one will remember that. Focus on what will be remembered – and what IS that? Perhaps it is how you treat others – and give them a little grace as well.