Stop the Madness Before its too Late
There are only three ways to get more time – eliminate, delegate, or accelerate. The hardest is elimination.
Starting is more fun than stopping. Starting new things without stopping old things, however, is the reason your life is out of control.
Five Ways to Stop the Madness:
First, feel your frustrations; don’t bury them. You won’t stop something until you’re angry that it’s a roadblock to something better. Get mad in order to stop the madness.
Anger is good when it motivates change and bad when it turns inward. When your anger turns on you, you’ll end up feeling helpless and depressed.
It’s nearly impossible to find a quote that encourages anger. Everyone warns of its danger.
Bede Jarrett went against the flow when he said, “The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.”
Second, love your potential. Don’t let others fill your life with the things they want you to do. Love your talents and passions enough to express them – enough to stop doing things that block them.
Third, find people who lift you toward your goals not theirs. In addition, be a person who lifts others toward their goals. Real friends lift each other.
Do you have friends that are enemies in disguise? Enemies hinder or block your progress toward your goals. Dump them if things don’t change.
Fourth, don’t start anything new until you stop something old. It’s OK to start stopping things.
Fifth, step toward the life, leadership, passion you desire. Take a simple, small step today.
How can leaders stop the madness?
Yesterday’s post will help you stop the madness. “Working Toward Working Less” You aren’t over-worked because of your abilities. You are over-worked because you lack ability.
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Dan, another great if somewhat painful topic. How do leaders stop the madness? Same way they do everything else: See the need, communicate the need, model the behavior and then hold the group accountable for the behavior. It’s up to the leader to measure any activity against the goal. It’s also up to the leader to have the courage to stop the things that aren’t giving a good ROI.
On the personal level, you hit on a couple of key things: Anger/frustration and small daily steps. A former commander used to say, “Nothing is going to change until this starts being painful for someone besides us.” In other words, instead of absorbing the dysfunction through your own efforts, get frustrated enough to share the pain. He also said, “Never speak up when you’re angry, but it doesn’t hurt sometimes if they think you are.” Same reason as you note above: Get peoples’ attention to motivate change.
Small daily steps, I’m convinced, are the only sustainable way to true change. Change is like dieting; you can make it a project and do it over and over, or make it a life-style and do a little every day.
Hi Dan intriguing question. How can we stop the madness. You have listed the high points for sure. For me delegating is the most difficult challenge. I have learned how to stop by slowing down and easing in to the end rather than abruptly stopping. I find it less damaging to my “go get it” mentality. It is probably not time efficient nor desirable but it is a work in progress. Another layer of mentoring which should help me is seeking out individuals who are quick to realize their strengths and more importantly their limitations and will stop or give away a project they realize someone else can do better, faster, and smarter. Leadership humility rises to the surface here and will serve us well if we let it. I think the all important “NO” which is so hard for most of us to say will help stop madness on the spot. I am still and probably will continue to learn how to say “no” in an effective way and stop saying “yes but” which usually confuses everyone. How do we say no and at the same time motivate others to take on the task?
You touch on something here that could be very powerful, Al — what if we just didn’t do anything that wasn’t solidly inside our strengths? Get rid of the fantasy that we can do anything, especially that we can do it all better than someone else. Just work on the stuff that you do best and see that the rest goes to someone who will be good at it.
Hi Greg, thanks for your input. I hear what you’re saying and agree with you. We all have different strengths and of varying degrees similarly with our weaknesses. I guess we need to be super selective and pick our top ones and stick with them knowing there are still only 24 hours in the day. Sometimes in leadership positions things fall on our plate by default……………”the buck stops here scenario” and then we do the best we can until someone shows up to help or take it over completely since they do it better.
Startin a new group for ya Al…N.A….no not that N.A., but No Anonymous, for those who just can’t say N-N-N-N-No. Particularly prevalent in the healthcare field (you say codependent, I say helping heart), although is contagious to leadership realms as well.
As Greg noted, we need to be real…perhaps it is how we say ‘no’ too. “That sounds like a great project, I hope it goes well for you,” might be one response. Or, “I will be able to break free enough resource time to do your collaboration very well in xx months, will that work?”
The other piece that I have done in my area is a visual board for queue (always filling that pool it seems), doing and done projects. Others can now see what is in the works, being done this week/day (no more than 5 a week) and done.
I have added due dates and now am tracking duration of projects so that I can have a better idea of what time commitments various types of projects have. If someone really pushes to have a short notice project, together we look at what has to move back in the queue and take co-ownership for that delay. Haven’t gotten to the detail of ‘read emails’ or ‘post in LF’, maybe later on that. I REALLY like the ‘done’ section on Fridays!
Great help. I know someone who needs this today . . . . Me!
I appreciate your suggestion to get more time. One more element can be added here, Prioritise. We get lost when we do not prioritise our tasks. I personally feel it. I agree that starting new things is easy than stopping old things. Stopping madness is very difficult and takes more effort. There are some common tips that can help leaders to stop madness. Before that we need to understand why people do not stop the things knowingly that the effect is negative or wrong. I think because people are more resistance to change and by nature they are hopeful. They want to see something positive even in pessimistic scenario. Introspection and analysis of effort and output is needed to stop madness, but this is possible only when leaders are more resilient and open to change their belief and attitude. I also feel why people do not change their way is because they are egoistic in nature. Arrogance is another madness attitude. So, empathy and wisdom on effort and outcome may help leaders to stop old habits or things that actually do not yield result.
Ajay, you’re exactly right that “introspection and analysis” are needed to stop the madness. Like any other leadership gain, some investment of time and mental energy will be necessary.
Over the last 6 months i have closed down one project that i had run for 10 years. It wasn’t very successful but i had invested so much time and effort into it i found it hard to let go. Now i have the space to create something quite different.
I have enjoyed you blog over the last few months.
Dan, as a fellow pastor, I needed this post to start my week. Thanks for your wise words.
Good post, Dan.
Letting go of the clutter in our lives- whether its failing businesses, failing association, friends who aren’t really our friends, doing things we don’t want, junk, old shiny toys is a difficult process. I’m doing some of this myself right now.
But the amazing thing is that when this stuff starts to go away, there is suddenly more room to breath and think; more brain space, if you will.
Reminds me of the “To STOP Doing” list in addition to the “To Do” list.
Scott, I asked my wife to make me a Stop Doing list once. I wish I’d had the courage to implement it. She knows me better than anyone, and quickly saw a number of things I was doing either out of ego or just being too nice to say no.
This was right on the mark for me today. And I will find it so helpful both with coaching clients and in a couple of volunteer organizations where I provide leadership. However most of all I need ot pay attention to it for myself. As a Myers Briggs ENFP – I love the start up and hate the details – and the conbination brings me grief for the exact resons identified in this post.
Today’s topic is near and dear to my heart. Now that my kids are 12 and 15, I have collected over the course of their childhoods many things I fell in love with (and stayed interested in) because they dabbled …. and I was left holding the obligations. And now that they are older, I am also trying to fit in things that are “just for me.” Presents challenges! One thing leaders can do, for themselves and for their people, is encourage realistic planning. Everyone MAY know it’s feasible to tackle a new project in an extra “hour a day” but it’s important to leave space/time for the things that come up that can derail the most ambitious of plans. The unexpected happens – it’s wise to plan for it to be part of the mix.