The 3 Signs You Need To Stop Attempting Too Much


I have a list of time management challenges that I use for discussion in one of my training programs. When I ask, “Which one seems to impact you the most,?” a surprising number of participants respond with, “Attempting too much.”

I personally see value in having more planned for your day than you might reasonably get done. Especially if several of those items are related to your own growth or the growth of others. However, I also encounter people who have so conditioned themselves to trying to squeeze three days work into 10-12 hours that they often find themselves physically and mentally overloaded. Their worrisome workload prevents them from being fully present in the moment.

If you’re feeling like your daily drive to overachieve is wearing you down, perhaps it’s for one of these three reasons:

You start too much and finish too little.
Having a robust number of tasks in process is admirable, but not if you fail to finish them. As I have written about on numerous previous occasions, your mind is wired to see things finished. And when items are left undone, your mind will constantly remind you about them, reducing your ability to focus on the current task.

You are consistently taking on work others could (or should) be doing.
Be honest with yourself. Aren’t there some tasks you have built into your schedule that really belong on someone else’s list (or calendar)?

You have no time in your day for strategic thinking and proactivity.
If you have so filled your hours with reactive tasks, responding to crises, and just maintaining the status quo, how do you expect to build deeper capacity in yourself or your team? The time you invest in reflection, innovation, and having informal conversations with others are often just the moments when real breakthrough ideas surface.

For more on this topic:
The Two Hostages Of Too Much To Do
How To Use Math To Help With Your Overload

And of course my Juggling Elephants book is all about the struggle of too much to do!

Jones Loflin