CatchUpJust because business is 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to be.

“I’m catching up today.” How many times have you said those words? Let’s be real. Catching up is a fallacy, a myth, a wish, a hope, and just plain unrealistic.

Don’t get me wrong. We all try. We work on weekends and during vacation, and stay glued to our smartphones around the clock. We don’t want to miss anything happening online, important or not. It’s called FOMO—fear of missing out. But when you have your eyes glued to a device, keeping up with what’s going on “out there,” you miss out on the important people right in front of you—your loved ones, colleagues, customers, and prospects.

The compulsion to catch up has made us all slaves to our devices. But no matter how many Saturdays we spend working, there will always be more “to dos” on our lists. Check one off and another appears to fill its spot. That’s just the product of living busy, full lives.

Hello Pot, I’m Black

I’m every bit as guilty as the next person. I’m writing this blog over a weekend. Afterwards, I will be preparing for a sales presentation, connecting with people on LinkedIn, writing more blog posts, finishing a client proposal, and communicating with clients via email—all of which will inevitably create more “to dos.”

What’s the solution? We could:

  • Add resources to our teams
  • Choose not to tackle certain projects
  • Ignore people on our teams
  • Drop the ball
  • Just say “no”

None of these options seem easy (or sound like good business, for that matter). But something’s gotta give, and what stays has to matter.

“No” Isn’t a Bad Word

Dropping balls and ignoring people isn’t very professional. But saying “no” is far better than overpromising and underdelivering.

If you’re asked to complete a large project at work, and you’re already underwater, you have several options: Find someone else to do it, agree to work on one aspect of the project, or question if this project is essential.

When you create strategic goals, and your path to success is clear, question every demand on your time—every project, every proposal, and every meeting. Ask, “Will doing this get me to my sales goals faster?” Scrutinize carefully. If your answer is “yes,” figure out how to get it done with the least amount of stress. If the answer is “no,” move on.

A great question for clients and prospects begins with “when.” When do you need our proposal? When would be a good time to meet? When will the project begin?

We often race to deliver as fast as possible, when clients might not really need certain documents immediately. Next-day delivery is FedEx’s job, not ours.

Prioritize Your Work, Live Your Life

One of my cardinal rules is that I do what’s closest to cash first every day. This really helps with my planning and sales activities. Does this mean that every day is a cakewalk, or that I never have anything that carries over to the next day? Of course not.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to forget about “catching up” and take a break. Leave your office and your to-do list. Clear your head, take a walk, go to the gym, spend time with your family, take the dog for a walk, and then decide what you really must do.

Accept that you’ll never get caught up. It’s not going to happen. Get over it.

I really should take my own advice. I’m out of here.

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