I have a brown thumb. I cannot grow a plant to save my life. My downfall is that I am an overproducer. I go above and beyond for the plant so that it can be the best. Sure, I do the typical things like making sure the plant is getting the right amount of light or the best soil. But I don’t trust the plant or Mother Nature so I keep working to make sure the plant has everything it needs until one day I look up and the plant has gone to the light.
The plant could not thrive under the pressure.
Truth be told, neither could I. But overproducing is what happens when you overwork. And that’s a scene I know all too well.
This past month multiple clients have joined me in OVERland. They come into their coaching sessions fatigued. Burned all the way out. It’s only the end of April and I am seeing the type of exhaustion that is more common in the fourth quarter of the year. My clients are overproducing – tending to all the needs, real and perceived – and they cannot thrive.
Here’s what my clients are telling me:
- I can’t push anymore.
- I’ve been doing two people’s jobs for the past year and have not had an increase in compensation.
- I know I’m tired but I have to show up for this important work.
- We used to honor boundaries but now my boss calls me in the evenings and on weekends.
- After this next meeting/conference/training I will take a break.
And the list goes on.
It doesn’t have to be this way, y’all.
I believe we can stop overproducing and still have an impact and meet our goals.
You choose to be average at something you don’t need to be excellent at.
You take a break. Decline an invitation to serve on yet another committee. Use all your PTO.
For my readers who can’t even imagine what I’m suggesting, here are four baby steps to slow your pace enough to stop yourself from overproducing:
1️⃣ Check in on your goals/workplan weekly. Doing this will give you regular opportunities to see when you are in a lot of meetings and examine if those time commitments are aligned with your goals.
2️⃣ Organize your task list according to your goals/workplan. Is one goal getting more attention than the others? Does everything on your list have to be done right now or can they wait for a later time?
3️⃣ Audit your calendar. Do you have thinking space? One way to avoid overproducing is to take time away from your to-do list and meetings to strategize.
4️⃣ Delegate. A key way to stop overproducing is by lifting up the leadership of others on your team, especially your direct report(s). Giving others a chance to grow and get visibility is a sign of a good leader.
Overproducing does not have to be your norm. The unlearning of harmful practices doesn’t happen overnight. It comes with a deep longing and listening to Self at the highest level. I hope this list helps you create the space in your schedule and mind to be a leader who saves something for Self. When you have something left for you, growth is possible.
Are you in?
Comment below or message me on LinkedIn to let me know what you’ll willing to do to stop being an overproducer.