The Backpack

Little did I know this would be one of the important pieces I would right. I often suffer the effects of overwhelm because I'm a people pleaser and have a hard time saying no.

Writers Note

I was struggled to write this piece beyond the first few paragraphs. Then I stepped away and went for a walk on the beach. During that walk, the ideas came to me and I was able to complete it quickly when I returned (I always carry a small notebook with me to jot down ideas). Often all you need to do is change your perspective.

In a nutshell *Writing a 180 character summary for each of my posts is vitally important to build a tweetdex and give readers more to go on than a chapter alone.

We unknowingly carry an invisible backpack with us. The weight varies depending on how much crap we 'carry.' Letting go of our 'stuff' is the key to living a lighter life.

And then it hit me...

The more we have on our plate, the heavier our backpack weighs on us.

To lighten your load, we have to take tasks out of your own backpack and let others carry the load.

When the rest of your life is in check, few things weighs heavier than unfinished tasks.

When you hand it off, you give up ownership until they hand it back, completed.

But we also carry emotions on our back. Notice the difference between the days you feel light? The days that weigh heavy on us are often filled with emotional turmoil.

When I was in the Boy Scouts as a kid, we took overnight hikes. One of the jokes we played on the newbies was to add rocks to their backpacks when they were not looking. We'd make bets to see how long it would be until they noticed. Often they'd go many miles, or even all the way to the final destination before discovering them.

They worked harder. They were slumped over. Since they had no frame of reference in regards to how heavy a pack should feel, they often didn't notice.

Do you let others put rocks in your backpack now? Are you adding rocks yourself?

I am a hoarder of information. Always have been. There are endless opportunities. It can be a curse of the entrepreneur. Does this amount of information weigh me down making me less nimble to respond to new opportunities?

Think about how many unfinished projects you have. My list contains over 50! It has for a long time. I've made little progress on most of them over the last 5+ years.

There's an idea out there that successful people read a book/week. But truly, how much can you absorb a book in a week? How much can you remember? How much do you miss?

In order for knowledge to stick, it must be applied. You know it's true when you fail to apply what you learn, what you learn is lost.

Grief vs. Relief

What actions lighten my load and give me relief?

What actions weigh me down (and cause me grief)?

The dysfunctional todo list

I have tried so many strategies de jour. I'll put in a ton of time setting it up, only to fail at any kind of long-term meaningful implementation.

One thing I know for sure is out of sight is out of mind. While it's more convenient to load your tasks digitally, it's less convenient implementing it. What seems to work best for me is a combination of digital and analog. A friend who is a landscape architect did plot out a nice big calendar and it was interesting to see what I was making time for.

The things that get on my calendar actually get done.

The todo list only serves as an inventory of my ever growing list of todos. I have come to realize there will always be more todos then time to do them! It's a game you can't win.

Notice how quickly you get through your to do list before you go on vacation? It's the unfinished items that tag along as unwelcome guests.

Deadlines and penalties

Deadlines drive action. The vacation exercise works because there's a deadline. The penalty of incompletion stings more when the severity of that penalty increases in time.

Work expands to fill the space you give it.

When do deadlines really matter? When there are penalties associated with missing it. The government knows this well. If there were no penalties to paying our taxes by April 15, few of us would file on time.

Four possible outcomes

Every task has only 4 possible outcomes: 1. It gets completed (or booked for a future day & time) 2. It gets delegated (to an available resource) 3. It gets delayed (indefinitely) 4. It gets deleted.