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The stress is mounting. You feel out of control. Zoom meetings. In person meetings. Phone calls. Bills. Carpool. Your head is exploding. You look at your ever growing to-do list and it feel impossible to conquer. You’ll never be able to take care of all the things on your list and even if you could, new tasks would make it on. How are you supposed to accomplish your larger goals when you can barely focus on your daily tasks?

Now imagine, that your boss approached you and said – “Sam, I see your workload is too large. Let me give one of your clients to someone else.” What would you feel? Relieved of course, as you can now breathe. You now have time to do what you desperately need – to think, to analyze, to grow. But what if, you didn’t wait for your boss to approach you and you actually eliminated one of your own tasks. “Impossible,” “I just couldn’t.” “I’m the best person for the job!” But why? Is that even true? What’s stopping you from delegating and giving things over?

As mentioned in my previous blog, Subtraction is a technique where you mentally force out a component of the product or process you are working with and imagine the remaining components existing together as is. We use the subtraction technique to solve problems and think more creatively. Is it truly terrible when you lose a staff member? Of course, you have less help and your systems are out of whack, but maybe the money and time saved also has added benefits. When your \pool is closed due to maintenance, perhaps this is a great time to focus on what other features your community center has to offer. What subtraction does is allow us to think about the benefits of what seems to be broken so we can move forward into a pattern of growth.

When we face an endless list of to-do’s with no end in sight, we are often forced to do subtraction by choice – to ask ourselves what can we eliminate from our schedule that will not cause the roof to cave in. Often we have been doing busy work, simple tasks that can be done by others, yet we are afraid to let go. Although, in the case of subtraction-by-choice subtraction isn’t forced upon us, we still need to follow through with the key question – what is the benefit of not handling this action item? By understanding the benefits of letting go and focusing on the positive, we are able to once again look towards the future and spend more time on what is actually important.

For more information on Inside the Box thinking, check out Drew Boyd's Blog -

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