Corporate Strategy

115. It's Overwhelming

April 01, 2024 The Corporate Strategy Group Season 4 Episode 10
115. It's Overwhelming
Corporate Strategy
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Corporate Strategy
115. It's Overwhelming
Apr 01, 2024 Season 4 Episode 10
The Corporate Strategy Group

Chasing fluency in Japanese and Chinese taught me that mastering a language—or any complex skill—is a marathon, not a sprint. This episode peels back the curtain on the dedication needed to conquer new tongues and the subtle dynamics of workplace communication that go beyond the mythical "10,000-hour rule." Join me as I revisit my own journey with language learning, unpack strategies for decluttering mind-numbing schedules, and dive into the impact of pressing pause on the email and meeting frenzy that often overwhelms us post-vacation.

Have you ever felt the crushing weight of an unbearable workload or the frustration of constant priority shifts? I've been there, and in this episode, I open up about the startup life, where rapid context switching is part of the daily grind. We explore the fine art of acknowledging when we're stretched too thin and why sometimes failing to meet expectations can pave the way to a career path more aligned with our values and mental well-being. Plus, we navigate through the choppy waters of managing sudden work interruptions that can throw your day into chaos, offering strategies to keep your head above water and even thrive amidst the madness.

In a world where who you support and who supports you can make or break your career trajectory, we spotlight the strategic importance of backing the work of colleagues we respect. I share candidly about leaning on trusted work alliances and how this reciprocity can fast-track our climb up the corporate ladder. By the episode's close, you'll have a fresh perspective on balancing tactical task management with the necessity of a strategic vision for a rewarding professional journey, all while admitting that sometimes, those productivity books are best served in summary form.

What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Everything Corporate Strategy:
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Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chasing fluency in Japanese and Chinese taught me that mastering a language—or any complex skill—is a marathon, not a sprint. This episode peels back the curtain on the dedication needed to conquer new tongues and the subtle dynamics of workplace communication that go beyond the mythical "10,000-hour rule." Join me as I revisit my own journey with language learning, unpack strategies for decluttering mind-numbing schedules, and dive into the impact of pressing pause on the email and meeting frenzy that often overwhelms us post-vacation.

Have you ever felt the crushing weight of an unbearable workload or the frustration of constant priority shifts? I've been there, and in this episode, I open up about the startup life, where rapid context switching is part of the daily grind. We explore the fine art of acknowledging when we're stretched too thin and why sometimes failing to meet expectations can pave the way to a career path more aligned with our values and mental well-being. Plus, we navigate through the choppy waters of managing sudden work interruptions that can throw your day into chaos, offering strategies to keep your head above water and even thrive amidst the madness.

In a world where who you support and who supports you can make or break your career trajectory, we spotlight the strategic importance of backing the work of colleagues we respect. I share candidly about leaning on trusted work alliances and how this reciprocity can fast-track our climb up the corporate ladder. By the episode's close, you'll have a fresh perspective on balancing tactical task management with the necessity of a strategic vision for a rewarding professional journey, all while admitting that sometimes, those productivity books are best served in summary form.

What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Everything Corporate Strategy:
All the links!

Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Speaker 1:

and I you. Uh, hey, it's craig, he works this time he's alive.

Speaker 2:

Last week was a rough one took me actual time to edit and put together the podcast for the first time in forever, wasn't cool listen, you do all the work around here, but if I had to do that, it would take me so long that's true I mean like you do get used to it and you do go faster.

Speaker 1:

That's like a whole topic is like mastery of things. You know, they say it takes like a thousand, 10,000 hours to master something. Yeah, that's what they say. They say that, but like what that means? I don't either. So I've been learning Japanese, oh, really For a couple, about a little over a month now, and you know I'm committing to the hiragana and learning all the characters and learning the words. And let me tell you, 10 000 hours is not enough, it's insane. I'm doing about 30 minutes a day and it's like you just don't realize how many words there are.

Speaker 2:

you know right, and you memorize that whole yeah fun fact about clark I studied a little chinese in college and I speak like elementary level last year, like I was binging learning chinese and now I'm still at elementary level from where I was in college. But I love it like the asian languages. Japanese and chinese are just so interesting because they're so different from, like you know, the latin based languages and they have the whole aspect of like characters and tones and all that. It's like I love it. But man, it is so like the mastery level behind that. It takes a lifetime. Yeah, that's the thing that's crazy about.

Speaker 1:

Like there's no way 10 000 hours is enough yeah, I will say like I do like their grammar so much better. At least I don't know chinese, I don't know. But japanese grammar is so much easier and I feel like it's a lot more consistent so far. Maybe as I get into more complex things it'll change, but like I watch a lot of anime, no-transcript.

Speaker 2:

Very similar. It's like you say you have a question and then to answer the question you either say yes, the same thing or no the same thing. It's not like. It's like very consistent, which makes it it like it, it the rules.

Speaker 1:

I like it because it's like programming it's. It's so much more consistent than English is the worst. English is the worst language. I feel bad for everyone that has to learn it, which is the entire planet. So sucks, Sucks to suck. But yeah, Try being a superpower next time, and then you, you can set the language that everyone learns. Maybe it will shift. There's still time. Maybe it will shift. There's still time, that's true. Hey Clark, are you ready to do a podcast? Are we podcasting? Is that what this is? I have no idea anymore. I don't even know.

Speaker 2:

I'm ready. You know I'm kind of burnt.

Speaker 1:

My eyes are like just slowly drifting away from being able to focus on a screen, but I'm ready Save that that's going to come back later, I promise save that, but for now, welcome back to Corporate Strategy, the podcast. That could have been an email. I'm Bruce and I'm Clark. Hey, clark.

Speaker 2:

Welcome back. Hey, bruce, hey, thank you. Thank you for that segue and that intro into whatever we want to call whatever we're doing right now Vibe check, do we?

Speaker 1:

need a vibe. I mean I'm good Actually, so like I'm, just in case anyone actually cares. Uh, I'm pretty much fully recovered. So we're, we're there, we're through the woods. My stomach I can actually digest. I started to eat some more complex foods and I'm not feeling sick, which is good. I think the lining's coming back. Almost all flu symptoms are gone. We are, we are in the clear. I'm exercising again. It's great.

Speaker 2:

It's great, it's great good you, just in case you felt like no one cared. I care. Does that help at least a little bit?

Speaker 1:

Well, it's programmed into the show, so I don't know if you do or not anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I guess I have to be here. It's more of like an obligation. So if I don't say I care, then our listeners might be like, wow, this is rough.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, do we actually care about each other's vibes? Let's find out on the next episode of Corporate Strategy. Hey, speaking of vibes Clark, how are you doing? Oh, you know, I'm living. I think, man, I'm living. That's a good statement.

Speaker 2:

So I mean, I was on vacation we talked about that in the last episode. It was great. I got refreshed, I recovered, and then I came back to the craziness and I love the topic of like how you get ahead of that, and I did most of it, actually most of this week, and I just want to say this because there's hope out there, whoever may be in the same predicament I was. I didn't touch my email. I came into Monday and just kind of accepted what it was and the first thing I did was just delete, like just decline, delete like 50 different meetings for that week. I'm like there's no way. The second I get back I'm going to attend a meeting and be productive. So I literally like cleared out my whole morning the next day. I had all afternoon. It enabled me to catch my email, our messenger I am still in a black hole in Messenger. There's like hundreds of messages, maybe even thousands. I can't keep up. So I kind of gave up on that one.

Speaker 1:

But everything else feels like you know we use Teams, oh, just uninstall it.

Speaker 2:

Just uninstall it. It's so bad Like it's so painful Between like the individual chats and then you have like alerts chats and then you have like alerts and then you have like Teams channels, right. Well, it makes a channel for every meeting.

Speaker 1:

So then you have the note, I don't even read them. I do not read Teams notifications. It's impossible Period.

Speaker 2:

I pin like the top 15 people or whatever it allows you that I need to care about talking to, and the rest I just can't keep up.

Speaker 1:

This is going to sound so mean, but again, microsoft, I'll give them Copilot. Great, fantastic product. I prefer to use email than Teams at this point.

Speaker 2:

That's where I'm at. I literally tell my team I'm like if you have something urgent, you better send it over email, and I hate to say it because that sounds so backwards and so stupid. If you've used things like Slack, but in the Office 365 ecosystem, I think that's the better approach. It is.

Speaker 1:

I completely agree. It's funny because it's always the meme lost in email, buried in email. It's so much easier to get buried in Teams because of how they do their stupid meeting chats and just the way that they organize that whole application and it doesn't run good on a Mac and they refuse to do anything to solve the memory leak. It's the worst. But we use slack, thankfully, and I basically just have a team status that says message me on slack, just don't don't talk to me here.

Speaker 1:

I will not respond to you but then it's worse for you, because now you have two well, we just use teams for meetings and I'm hoping that's temporary, like I hope eventually we'll go to a superior platform like Zoom. But you know, what can you do? I just, I just use it for meetings and that's it. I don't use the chat ever.

Speaker 2:

Fair enough, but yeah, overall I'm doing all right. I mean, it's still because you're catching up on everything. But it could have been much worse. So I'd love to hear it it's Wednesday. Feel productive, it's good. Much worse I'd love to hear it it's Wednesday.

Speaker 1:

You'll feel productive. It's good. Yes, although they will be listening to this on a Monday, just so everyone knows it's not Wednesday. I'm not trying to put you in a state of panic. Listener Clark and I exist on a different plane. Hey, I wanted to call out the fact that you used the episode to help you and that worked well for you. We have a well for you. We have a shout out we have to give ourselves. Uh, we have a new person who joined the discord. Shout outs to I'm not going to say their full name, because I guess their full name, but shout out to brooke for joining the discord. Thank you for joining, thank you for participating. And uh, they, they mentioned that they got a promotion to strategic planning analyst and they learned a lot from the pod and gave us two hands raised, emoji, hand five, clap five, let's go go. Brooke, like proud of you. Couldn't be happier for these results and I'm so glad we were able to help.

Speaker 2:

That's incredible I love it. Yeah, brooke, congratulations and so happy. What we're saying is sometimes valuable. It's always. It's just such a win to our community too, because, like and I think brooke is new to our community too.

Speaker 2:

But yes, I think Brooke is new to our community too. But I think you know there's so much more learning to do from the community and just the value that comes out of this group of people. You know it's just going to continue to to improve over time and I'm sure a lot of our awesome guests who have come on and all the things we have taken in from topics perspective have fed into this. So all that's from the community. So really huge shout out to everybody that's part of our group because I think that contributed to the success that Brooke had.

Speaker 1:

It's so cool to see that. I think so too, and you know, if people in the listeners are curious on how they can join this awesome Discord Clark, give it to them.

Speaker 2:

You know there's this thing. It's a website that seems sketchy. I promise it's not. You can go to corporatestrategybiz that's dot B-I-Z. Awesome. And you can find our button for Discord and you can click on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, clark, I do have some bad news. I actually learned this week because you know, as a marketer, you're always looking for the latest tools that people are engaging with. There's this application called Linktree. It's just L-I-N-K dot or it's L-I-N-K-T-R dot, e-e, which is the best URL, and it will compile all of your stuff into a single page, and I'm going to build this one. So you support the show, you join the Discord, go to our website, get a podcast, buy a donut it's all going to be on our link tree. So, unfortunately, I feel like this, this running joke might come to an end for the sake of convenience in the show notes I think there's something to be said about something that's funny that you should just leave alone.

Speaker 2:

You know what I mean, like we all know it. You've probably had these experiences recently where there's like this broken thing I'm thinking back to my software engineering days that there's like this broken thing that you're just like, yeah, we're just not going to touch this thing, we're not going to touch it. No, and then, anytime, like people joke around about it, you're like, yeah, that's that thing we don't touch. And everybody who's ever tried to refactor that thing has died. They just died. And like, everybody makes it that joke of like, oh, yeah, it's like that thing, and so maybe this is one of those things that we never want to let it go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, maybe we do both. We have the convenient option. Which? Who would do that? Who would click the link tree? Or you can go to corporatestrategybiz that's dot B-I-Z where you can get all the information about our newsletter, our Discord, our brand, everything right there. It's amazing.

Speaker 2:

Listen. Corporate's taken away so much from me and my happiness. You can't take this away from me. I need this corporatestrategybiz. That's biz, and you can find all these. Oh, I needed that.

Speaker 1:

Speaking of taking, are you ready for some news, clark? Oh, we got news. We got news. I saw this and I said this is it we're. You know, our website is corporatetradgebiz and the B-I-Z stands for business and this is the most business of business news. You're not going to believe this, clark. You're not going to believe this, are you?

Speaker 2:

ready? I'm eagerly waiting. I You're not going to believe this. Are you ready? I'm eagerly waiting. I have no idea what this is going to be, if it's going to be positive or negative at this point. So hit me.

Speaker 1:

It comes from restaurantbusinessonlinecom. Mcdonald's is taking its Krispy Kreme partnership national. That's right, y'all At the food chain McDonald's, known for the golden arches and hamburgers, you will now be able to buy crispy cream donuts across the United States. This is a thing, okay, like I brought this up jokingly and then I started to think about it and then I started to really think about it, like do you know how much money these two companies are going to make with this partnership?

Speaker 2:

I mean I was just thinking. Like it kind of went through my head. I'm like, okay, that's kind of weird. Like can I get donuts with my McDouble? And then I thought about it more and I'm like what, if you mix those things together, you ever had a donut sandwich? Yes? And that's exactly where my head went and I started drilling a little bit and I'm like I kind of want to go to mcdonald's and get one. Yeah, if that's the thing I don't know. That's the thing I.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I don't know if you can get the sandwich. I mean, obviously you can get two donuts and put a piece of chicken between it and it's going to be delicious. But listen to this. In this article, the news of the expanded deal sent Krispy Kreme shares skyrocketing on Tuesday morning Shares up more than 17% in pre-market trading. This is huge. This is like business apocalypse. This is like Apple buys Beats and actually does something good with it. This is the kind of business I like to see. I love this.

Speaker 2:

You know what? That's? Some happiness in the world right there. A little bit, I haven't had McDonald's in probably a decade.

Speaker 1:

Why not add diabetes to your heart disease? Let's put these things together. It's better together, trust me.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, this just reminds me of the Super Size Me movie Documentary. Yeah, they need to bring that back. I just want to supersize it. Give me 12 McDoubles, give me a dozen donuts and let's mix those things together.

Speaker 1:

You know, I think about that movie. When it was made it was probably over it's definitely over 10 years ago now. It's probably more like 15 years ago. At least that movie came out, I think about the quality of food and all the sacrifices we've made when it comes to food quality, and you know, just the fda getting looser about food regulation. I don't, I don't know if you could do that.

Speaker 2:

I think that might kill you I mean, listen, there's still a whole bunch of crap out there that's going to kill you. But, holy cow, if that didn't die, we would have killed way more people.

Speaker 1:

It's long term goal. Krispy Kreme and McDonald's 100,000 access points worldwide. That's a lot of dollars.

Speaker 2:

Do they just mean access points, as in like location McDonald's locations, you can now buy Krispy Kreme donuts and slam a piece of chicken?

Speaker 1:

do they just mean excess points, as in like location mcdonald's locations, you can now buy crispy cream donuts and slam a piece of chicken between it.

Speaker 2:

That's wild I'm here for it though. Yeah, me too I think it's going to be super interesting and now I want to try it. We got to look up if any around us have that corporate strategy.

Speaker 1:

Coming to you live from local mcdonald's as we jump into a nasty double glazed chicken McDouble.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, I mean, I even think of, like the what's it called the breakfast one, uh-huh.

Speaker 1:

The McGriddle, I love it.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, yeah, you throw a waffle infused pancake or syrup infused pancake or waffle on top of syrup crystals inside of the Clark.

Speaker 1:

Get it right.

Speaker 2:

It's so, thank you. Thank you for clarifying that you got it. Like that's that thing. You really shouldn't eat more than like once in like five years. But when you do it just hits the spot.

Speaker 1:

Do you remember back when we used to work together and I had like one every day?

Speaker 2:

didn't it change to like egg white the lights or to like egg white delights or something like that for a bit? Yeah, yeah, you really went healthier, but yet again it's still mcdonald's, so your health level is still not great, so I hope it's improved since then I have.

Speaker 1:

I have had a mcgriddle since I have gone off the gluten or I've become non. I've become gluten regular. Uh, I have had a mcriddle. It was still just as delicious as I remember it being. But I'm not eating them every day. I don't like breakfast anymore, so that's actually something I'll eat if I have an early lunch. Is a McGrid, but I don't go to McDonald's all that often. Period man, now I'm kind of tempted.

Speaker 2:

Sometime in the near future, I want to hit up a McDonald's. What have you done to me? Why, why did you put this in my head?

Speaker 1:

This is marketing at its finest, right here. This is what McDonald's wants. They want to show up on every podcast in America there's murder mystery podcasts. They're like, hey, you can get a donut and shove a piece of chicken in it. Anyway, he was murdered with an axe and then they took a chainsaw to his legs.

Speaker 2:

Listen, corporate Strategy listeners don't feel like. Don't fall into the marketing hype. If you're trying to stay healthy, don't go to McDonald's, don't listen to anything. We just said yes, am I drooling a little bit? Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

But don't fall into it. I never said anything about healthy. I said delicious. That's the news. That's the news for the week. So that's the news. That's the news for the week.

Speaker 2:

Well, that was very interesting news. I appreciate you bringing this to us and I hope and pray there's more value that we're going to bring our listeners today than talking about Krispy Kreme and McDonald's combined.

Speaker 1:

We are 16 minutes in and I think we've delivered nothing but value. Let me tell you, clark, it's only uphill from here. So for our main topic, I actually was inspired by my day-to-day because some days, some days, you just feel overwhelmed, whether it's because of change in direction, just the amount of work you have to do, the you know, the amount of context switching. Context switching is a big one for me. You just look at your screen and say I can't, I can't do any of it, I'm overwhelmed. And obviously we get through these days because we're still here talking about it, and I've been overwhelmed many a time in my career. I'm sure you have too. But I think we can talk about strategies for, like dealing with that feeling of just overwhelmingness that often comes with corporate life. I think it's a great topic.

Speaker 2:

I want to talk about that feeling a little bit. Yeah, Like, how do you feel when you get to that, that point, that breaking point? I think from my perspective, there's days where you just feel like the amount of work you have to do is never ending and you just feel like you have millions of emails, you got to catch up on millions of everything else and you get to this point of almost paralysis where you just don't want to do anything because you're so overwhelmed and you don't know what to do next. And I hit that. You know, before my vacation.

Speaker 2:

I was kind of sitting there and I was like man, I got a million things to do and instead I'm going to go for a walk. So it's like, instead of those millions of things that I could do I could pick up any one of them be beneficial I just can't. I need to step away for a bit and kind of get my mind off of it. But I think everybody falls into that and that's how you get into, like the repetitive behaviors of like, oh well, let me watch a YouTube video, or let me scroll X or Twitter or whatever, Let me scroll Instagram. You kind of get lost in, you know, doing that instead as a distraction from the overwhelming feeling, Do you have any other?

Speaker 2:

like indicators of like what that feeling is for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, like I said in the intro, for me it's context switching or prioritization changes that are like unprompted or unwarranted. And I'll just give a semi-realistic example. You know I I spent a lot of my day. So I feel like you're very administrative, Clark, and tell me if I'm wrong. Like you have your team, you manage you, you know you're managing projects and you're managing people. So a lot of your days spent spent talking to people, kind of ensuring that alignment is kept when my day is.

Speaker 1:

I might write something in the morning, I might go to a meeting and do a little bit of administrative management, I might be expected to review something someone else has written before lunchtime and it's like I'm doing a lot of mental context switching, going from very different tasks all day long, because I'm at a startup and no one else is going to do it, so it falls to me to get it done.

Speaker 1:

And when the context switches happen very breakneck, like every 30 minutes, I'm doing something completely different and I have to just continuously change the way my mind's working. I'm in creative mode, I'm in analytical mode. I'm in meeting maker. I'm in analytical mode, I'm in meeting maker make people happy mode, like it starts to ramp up and I think it breaks, because there's like a breaking point, because there's the expected amount of work that you have to do in the day and then there's I can't do this anymore. And that's generally when the wrench comes in the monkey wrench. You know it flies and it hits you in the face because someone's changed something that you've already done. And that's really when the crippling overwhelm hits me and I'm like I can't do this. What do you do?

Speaker 2:

What happens after that?

Speaker 1:

Usually, I accept the fact that if they do fire me, it's probably for the best, and it's a little bit of mantra, like you know. The reason why I want to talk about it is I don't know if I have a good solution for me, because a lot of it is breakdown, feel despondent, think about like well, I guess the only way you can eat an elephant quote, unquote the corporates is one bite at a time. So I'll just focus on the little thing I can do today. And if I don't get it done, the worst they can do is fire me, which you know, sometimes that's not a bad thing, yeah you know well.

Speaker 2:

I feel like there's a couple of things there and maybe that we can break through and kind of talk about and give some strategies of what's worked for us. Not that I think we do it perfect, but I think there's times when we do it well and there's times when we don't do it well. I think there's certainly times when I've failed to even implement the things I know I should be doing and then when I get back to those basics, I'm like, oh yeah, there's a reason I usually do this and I probably won't be overwhelmed. So it's like I think the few things you mentioned I mentioned overwhelmed from, like just the sheer amount of work and you don't even know where to start because there's just so much to do. And then there's the feeling of overwhelming.

Speaker 2:

Overwhelmingness Is that a word? Overwhelmingness, overwhelming nature yeah, thank you. Yes, you've got that overwhelming nature. That happens when, yeah, you get a change in direction after you put so much time and effort on something or you're just context switching. Your brain just can't focus because you've hopped from one thing or another. So I think there's a few different angles and a few different tactics you could use, based on the context, if that makes sense. Yes, it does.

Speaker 1:

Where do you want to start? I mean, let's tackle it from. If you had a day like I had today and I know we talked about like taking a walk, going to YouTube, walking away what are you actually going to do to get your job done? Or do you? You know, like, obviously I've been employed for 15 plus years now in corporate and we have dealt with this before, and the thing that occurred to me is, as I'm thinking about this for our topic, usually the approach I have is just do one thing. If I can get one thing done, that's one thing off the stack and at least we're one step closer. And I think another big thing is admitting it's a lot more than you can handle, and they're going to have to deal with the fact that they're either not going to get your best work or they're not going to get it on time, right, I like both those things, but I actually think the problem started earlier.

Speaker 2:

I like both those things, but I actually think the problem started earlier, and the reason it's happening is because you let it happen. Bum, bum, bum.

Speaker 1:

I'm sorry. Are you doing the Law Order theme song to me? Are you, dick Wolf? What's going on here?

Speaker 2:

Maybe the reason I say that and I want to go into this a little bit with you it sounds to me like you let your week get scheduled without like your, your consent. No, that's 100% accurate Rather than you deciding when you're going to do work, and I think that's where the problem begins. Right, and we talked about this with our getting things done mantra of the end of last year and the beginning of this year you really you make a choice.

Speaker 2:

You're either going to be deliberate about how you plan your week or you're going to let it be planned for you.

Speaker 2:

And if you let other people plan things around your week or you just let things hit you when you hit you, you know you're basically just saying, hey, whoever has got something, I'm going to take it on when you tell me to do it. And I think you have to deliberately plan your weeks around your highest priority things and group together like items so you will stop context switching Like we talk about, like my one-on-one Wednesdays and those days are deliberately put that way because I don't want to have one-on-ones intermixed with every single day pieces of focus work that I have to get done it's. I have one day I know they're all happening that day. That day is kind of a wash for doing any sort of focus work. But I deliberately force everyone to plan on that schedule because that's how I can make the rest of my week a little bit more efficient, rather than like doing focus work hopping into a one-on-one tackling different issues, then doing more focused work hopping to another one-on-one tackling different issues, like that's just going to be mentally exhausting for me.

Speaker 1:

So I appreciate that I'm going to push back on you a bit because I think it's different. Maybe it's not, but I do think it's different in my case, simply because I was given, with a 24-hour sla turnaround time, seven pages of emails that I had to review today, that I had to approve to go out. I don't get a choice in well, these have to wait. It's like no, they can't wait, they're going out next week. You need to review and approve all the copy which was not well written, so I rewrote most of it and I had to do it.

Speaker 1:

Like there is no. Well, you didn't plan and prioritize. This is like no, it's, someone has to do it, it's me, because I'm the only one that can and I've got a 24-hour sla email scots to go out before these events. So I can't really set that rule in my calendar. And then when the founder calls me and tells me he wants a new blog strategy, I can't really tell him no, even though we had canceled the blogs previously per their request. Right, I don't have the luxury to set boundaries like that because I'm one of the most important people at the company.

Speaker 2:

Well, let's talk about that, because I think there are certainly a ton of cases where you just don't have a choice. Yes, and what I would hope, and you tell me if this is true, this is rare and not frequent, like it's more often. This is a rarity to come in at the last minute. You have 24 hours, or is this happening to you all the time? I think it's a little different time. Yeah, it's once a week. Yeah, once a week. So I mean not, you know, if you thought about a 40-hour week, it's probably like a six-hour interruption that you can probably expect at some point. You just don't know when it's gonna happen yeah, it's.

Speaker 1:

Uh. I would say I get the random asks of we need bruce's brain on this. I'd say I get two of those a day, at least two. Two's probably a nice number. But let's say I get two of those a day um, so I know there's going to be at least two interruptions in my day where I'm going to drop everything to do someone else's work yeah, yeah, it's a hard situation Guaranteed.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, some strategies I guess you could take are, if you generally know what the things are, sometimes you don't especially in your case might just be like founder calls you, talk about something you had no thought in your mind about, you know, for the last month, and they're just like go do this and you're like, well, I guess I got to go do this. No-transcript about allocating, if you know that's going to happen, leaving the second half of your day open just for, like, issues that are going to come up. So kind of just acknowledging and this will make it easier for your brain and your emotional state acknowledging I know what's going to happen. I'm just going to leave afternoons and accept the fact that I can't plan and be stable in the afternoon, so all my stuff that I actually have to get done needs to be done in the morning.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's a big one, that one I have gone very hard on. Morning time is my time Basically. From when I wake up, generally around seven, I'm at least thinking about the work that I can get done in the morning on my own, that I need to get done. This is the things that my projects that I'm in control of and I do appreciate and agree with the keep your mornings clean, that I try. I'll even like block my calendar occasionally just to be like please don't schedule meetings here, because this is the only time I have to do the things that are expected of me and not others. So that's a good one.

Speaker 2:

That's a good one for sure, I mean. But it's still not easy. It's not In your case. It's like those things will come, it's just natural. But yours are frequent because of just the environment you're in. You know it's hard to avoid it. So I think you kind of have to level set with yourself like it's going to happen and just expect it, and if it doesn't happen that's a good day.

Speaker 1:

It is and that's it. That's exactly it. I'll try my best to like get ahead of the things that I know I can get done my work to free up as much time as possible. So when the daily nonsense floats my way and only I can do it, then it's my time to shine. It's not going to take me by surprise. I think the challenge is truly on days like today, where it is just nonstop. It's not two, it's 20. And I'm completely overwhelmed and thinking about well, my next day that looks light on the calendar is Tuesday, so maybe by then I'll get caught up on things. If they haven't decided that I'm so far behind that it's just not worth it anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, another bar cheddar movement, if you will.

Speaker 1:

Give it to me.

Speaker 2:

Would also be you know when your founder calls or something. You have to be transparent about what's going to be given up or what's going to have to shift in order for you to do it. And you have to have a good sense of like what is on your plate in order to do that. You can't just do that blind right. You have to actually know what are my priorities right now. If I take this on, what impact is it going to have? And I think it's only fair, if a leader calls you or anything like that, to say, okay, you know, I can happily take this on, but just keep in mind, you know, this is going to take some time and I'm going to have to shift this out a few days, so that deadline is going to have to move if you want me to do both, and that usually helps level set, with that being like oh wait, shoot, that's actually more important. So focus on that instead, and it just helps you keep that balance.

Speaker 1:

I love that and I wish that world existed. That'd be nice.

Speaker 2:

That'd be really nice. It's a lot easier said than done, cause I think in your case it would just be like Bruce, you're doing both yeah it is always the latter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm not afraid to explain the busyness and workload and drop in quality and there's always a yeah, that's fine. Yeah, that's fine, it follows up with it. So again it's a problem because only I can do it. So there's just the acceptance that, well, only Bruce can do this. So we just pile it on his plate, right?

Speaker 2:

yeah, I think there's like a redundancy thing there. I know you're like building your team, but that's also a problem, like we talked about in our last episode like you shouldn't be the only person who can do that. So you've got to train up your team so that someone else can help take those things on in the future and you can you delegate some of that work when things do come up or there's more things that you can be spending your time on, because as you get better and better, you know some of those things are just going to be too menial for you. Like your time is actually spent better doing something else and your team can handle it and have that trust. But yeah, again, it's a lot easier said than done and sometimes the answer is you got to do both and in some cases you know that's just a fact You're going to have to work extra hours and figure it out.

Speaker 2:

But I would ask, for the sake of all good and holy within corporate strategy, that at least you protect your team from it. I'm on your team, just do this. Be like yeah, they can if they move this out too. So at least you're protecting your team. That's what I try to do. I'm like sometimes I just accept I have to be the person to do this. I want to suck it up and do it, but I try to protect my team. Otherwise you risk them burning out and them having unreal estate expectations set on them and building a bad culture.

Speaker 1:

Well, I got good news for you there. My team wasn't hired to help me. They were actually hired to take on even more work that was going to be heaped on me. That I said I can't do this. So we hired people to do that, but they're not here to help me, so they don't get the asks I get. They get their own unique asks that only they can do Fair enough. Yeah, that's. You're in a hard scenario, because it's just a hard scenario, it's a happy startup.

Speaker 2:

You kind of accept that when you like. Whether you know it or not, you know, and you know this because when you accept? The role. But in a startup you got to wear a lot of hats and guidelines and the success and failure of business can happen really quick, and so sometimes that is going to be, you know, above and beyond the five o'clock you know threshold, because you just have to make sure the business doesn't die tomorrow. So startups, I think, are a whole different game than bigger corporate it really is.

Speaker 1:

And I'm not trying to throw you every hardball on the planet, clark, but it does illustrate that point. At my previous job in this same role, I could easily delegate or say like, no, I'm not doing that and I have the support to do that. It is the nature of the beast, that is the startup, and you just don't have budget to hire more people to help you, so you just deal with it yourself. And that's why I need the walk away. Take a walk, go outside, breathe, let your brain cool down, because nothing I can do in the work environment is actually going to help me with the overwhelming scenario except doing the work. So I think there's a little bit of acceptance saying it's it is physically impossible for me to do this within the confines of eight to five. So either I work more or I accept the fact that it's not going to get done. And you know I usually choose the latter, like we're recording this podcast at 446, because I said you know what it's not getting done today and what are they going to do?

Speaker 1:

Yell at me. No one else is going to do it, I think the key thing for you is communication too.

Speaker 2:

Just be like, hey, listen to the founder or whoever your boss and this is for everybody, not just you but just saying like, hey, this was thrown on my plate at the last minute, like I'm doing everything I can to get it done within the SLAs. But you know, I got to be realistic because I just don't have enough energy to knock this out at the moment. So it's going to happen later tonight. But I got to take a break because there is a point of diminishing returns. Like you can only do so much valuable work in a day before. It's just like you're doing media work or your brain can't focus enough to do quality work. So either quality is going to drop, um, or you're just not going to get anything done at all.

Speaker 1:

That's important and you can only do menial, low-level tasks that I think that's the biggest thing, right, like they've said, it's three hours. You get three hours of good work in a day and the rest of it is mostly just you showing up the meetings, administrating, participating, being on autopilot for most of it. We're well past that threshold for me, and I think there's an interesting catch-22 in my situation that I'm kind of hopeful plays out is my performance drops so much they're forced to hire another person to share my workload with, and then my performance will improve.

Speaker 2:

So it's, you know, like you do bad to do to do good sometimes you have to send a message that way right, I think that's actually a very valuable thing in corporate, like, a lot of people try to run lean, they don't want to hire people. And I think that's where in big corporate, where you're not, you know, sink or swim every single day, right, that's where you have to just be transparent about your workload and be like hey, I can do this, but I can't do this and this. So which one are you willing to push out in order to accommodate this new request? And I think then they'll realize of like, oh well, I can't push that out, but this work's also important. And that's when you make the case Like on my team I'm doing that right now of saying I can't ask this person on my team to do any more.

Speaker 2:

They've hit their workload. So if we're going bring this project in or have them take on discovery work for this new piece of technology, I need to hire help. For that. We're going to have to bring in someone to help them out, otherwise it's just not going to be maintainable. And so you've got to protect your team but also set the right expectations, so that way you're set up for success when something doesn't happen. But if you keep taking that stuff on, you're putting yourself in a really bad spot and you're never going to be successful.

Speaker 1:

I completely agree, and I think sometimes being unsuccessful is success. In this case, yeah, and that's what I got to remember is like I don't need to get it all done, I don't need to, I can let it go, I can let it fail.

Speaker 2:

As long as you communicate that and just being like hey, this is a tall ask, I'm going to do everything I can to do this, but I just don't have enough time in the day, you can just be transparent, be like I'm going to try my best, and like when you try your best and it doesn't work out. Well, you can be like hey, just letting you know. Like I wasn't able to hit that SLA because of what I mentioned to you yesterday, but I was able to make it this far. So you can at least just be transparent in that process or you don't communicate it. Well, it's also going to look bad because they're like well, bruce, why don't you get this done tomorrow? Right, and you're like well, I stayed up till midnight. It's like you should have communicated that upfront of just letting them know hey, I think I'm going to have to stay up till midnight to get this done and I don't think that's maintainable. You know to continue doing this, so I'm just letting you know.

Speaker 1:

That is an option. That's exactly what I'm doing. It's not getting done today, clark, I'm not opening a laptop again. We're done, it's closed. I'm walking away.

Speaker 2:

I think, especially when that happens to you a lot of times, you have to let it fail. And I know you're a big proponent of like. Sometimes you just got to let things fall through the cracks and fail, because that exposes gaps and it makes people understand that they just can't keep doing this or acting that way, and I think in your case, you have to to kind of send a message and then bring that realization to the leadership group.

Speaker 1:

I agree, I like that. I like this conversation makes me feel so much better about my insubordination that often occurs because of insurmountable odds.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Something I've been talking about a lot and I'm curious on how well you do this compartmentalization. I've been talking to my team about it because they're, like I feel so stressed about this, this and this. There's more being piled on my plate and kind of the reassurance that I have given them. I'm like listen, at the end of the day, if that doesn't happen on that date, our company is going to be fine. We're not a startup. We're not make or breaking our daily revenue. You know, by not delivering this thing, so don't take it into your personal life. You know you've got to be able to close your laptop and be like that was work. Now I need to break you know the work rhythm and bring into personal life and separate those two things. And I think what you said is actually important. It's like you need that symbolism a little bit of when I close the laptop, all those worries go away and I'm I come back to it tomorrow or go for a walk or whatever it is.

Speaker 2:

You get to decompress a little bit and switch gears, so that way your life life can be much more fulfilling and you can make sure you're not letting down people around you.

Speaker 1:

I think that's that's the biggest thing, right Like, close the lid, walk away, acknowledge the fact that it's closed, and you know I joke and say like what are they gonna do? Fire me? No, they're not. They need me. So it's it forces a conversation too, and I think that's what I'm really trying to have. Happen is, I can say I'm overwhelmed and be like, yeah, I know it's rough, but then when it impacts them and they feel it too, that forces the conversation. So there is a little bit of malicious compliance and I'm working within the confines of the day. So you know, start a podcast. That's really the best advice I can give anybody is get your therapy through a podcast, because your benefits isn't going to cover it and it's too expensive to pay out of pocket.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree, I think I do feel pretty good about that. I mean, in your case it's a little bit more challenging, but I hope those tips are just helpful in general. I do too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I can see all of those working in my old job.

Speaker 1:

So if you're in a corporate, you know I'm not in corporate, I'm in a startup. If you're in a corporate scenario, clark's tips work. I've used them. They're great.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I actually want to go back to the other sense of overwhelming that I mentioned too, of like you just feel like it's. The amount of work you have to do is insurmountable and, like some of the tips, I don't know, Bruce, if you have any off the top of your head. I think you mentioned one already that I think the biggest thing is once you get going, it's a snowball effect and you can just actually make pretty meaningful progress and things get a little bit easier.

Speaker 2:

But when you just sit there and you're kind of paralyzed of like I don't even know what to do next, the best thing to do is just like grab something doesn't matter if it's the highest priority thing or anything and just start I have a bad one.

Speaker 1:

I have a bad tip. It's going to make you feel good Cause I do this that maybe I shouldn't admit. Bruce does this. Bruce, the fictional character who runs this podcast, does this.

Speaker 1:

I prioritize based on how much I feel like the person deserves it. So things you admit on podcast. If the person I find you know is, I respect them. I think they're good, I think they've put in an effort and they do good work. Their work goes to the top of my stack, regardless of whether it's the most important because one I know they're going to be appreciative of it. I know they've done their best and I know that you know they need me as much as I need them and there's a mutual respect there. So every single time certain people come to me with asks, it's like I'm on it, I'm dropping important work to do your thing. It's bad, but it feels good because it doesn't feel like I'm not being appreciated. You get that little sense of oh well, they appreciate the work I do. They need this. I'm going to help them be successful. They're going to help me be successful. A little bit of quid pro quo there, but it honestly does help.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I actually think what you're saying right now is the key to climbing the corporate ladder. It's you identify who does valuable work and who provides value most, and when they ask for something, you prioritize it, and by scratching those people's backs, they also help you do things. So it's a mutually beneficial agreement that you guys have, and ultimately, those people are generally the people who can help you look good inside the company too. So, knowing who those people are, identifying those people who actually do really good work and always rise to the occasion, the person everyone calls for the go-to if you can help them, it's going to be very beneficial to you in corporate. I completely agree.

Speaker 1:

It's, it's the? What is it? The rising tides raise all ships, kind of thing, Although there are some ships that aren't being raised. It probably should be. Screw those ships. They're not very nice, so that's you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And I think one thing too is like what I mentioned you, you almost need to just acknowledge like sometimes there will be cases where there's so much work where you've just got to sit down and not do the work and plan it out like sit down for a bit, write out what all the things are, group them by like tasks, schedule them together and just make a plan.

Speaker 2:

Like sometimes just writing those things out helps so much. It helps you get out of your head into a system, and I think all those tips of getting things done that we talked about is so are so important, because without a good plan and until you get ahead of it, you just feel like you're overwhelmed every single day. But if you can get ahead of it and start deliberately planning your weeks around the highest priority items they're all grouped together like tasks not only do you have more energy, more mental energy throughout the day and throughout the week, but also you are getting the highest priority things done and when things do come in, you've got a system for it. So you don't need to think about where it goes or keep it in your head. And I think all those tips are buddy David Allen, go read his book and I think that's really going to help you get ahead of that overwhelming feeling there's david allen.

Speaker 1:

I didn't read his book. Uh, it did. Cover was so bad. I just refused the question you did read it. You know, I read it. I read the summary. I read I went on wikipedia and read the summary. I'm like, oh, this is pretty good. You, you did not I did this is all news to me.

Speaker 1:

I'm a thousand percent serious, I'm not gonna read to read his book. His cover sucks. I'm sorry. Like, do better. I'm a marketer man, like if you're going to, if you're going to put a book out there, it better have a good cover on it, not you standing all pacely looking at the camera with words next to your face. Come on, be better. You're going to sell a book.

Speaker 2:

All time I thought you read this book and you had these insights and your life was changing. And here we find out. You just went to wikipedia and read a summary you know what.

Speaker 1:

It was great. So I've I've followed it and, like I'll tell you my takeaway, because you can tell me if it's in the book or not or if I'm smarter than david allen. The thing that I love about getting things done is one you know if 50 of my day is fire drill and I can't plan for that, but the other 50% of this, the things I know I need to do. When I do the prioritization practice on Monday morning, first thing and I'm looking at all the things I got to do I look at my calendar and I find free spots and I block those spots. I'm like this is a 30 minute chunk of work I can get this done, which one stops me from booking my calendar and two allows me to plan out my week for the work that I need to get done, and it works great for my own personal projects. I've never been more efficient Thanks David Allen and my own brain from doing this calendar thing. Is that in the book?

Speaker 2:

You got the very tactical part of the book. Yeah, you're missing kind of the strategic, long-term part of it.

Speaker 1:

Well, I don't have a strategy period. No, especially not a corporate strategy. That that's part of the issue. I work at a startup. There is no strategy that's fair.

Speaker 2:

That's very fair. That's a. That's a time you know some books are just meant to actually be like, actioned on while you're reading it, so sometimes you might put it down for a year. You're gonna have to pick it up once you're ready for that next transition, the longer term strategy, and how you, how you ready for that next transition, the longer term strategy, and how you prep for that. Because right now you got the tactical stuff down and what you're saying is what everybody should at least have, but the longer term part helps you have a more sustainable life.

Speaker 1:

Did David Allen do the email thing? That's what I want to know. Or the meeting block?

Speaker 2:

I don't think he did know, or the the meeting block. I don't think he did. No, I don't think he did, he totally did.

Speaker 1:

Listen, you tell me that man made a cover like that and he's. He's thinking that next the four-dimensional chess. David allen's never gonna be on this podcast, by the way.

Speaker 2:

We just won't tell him. We won't tell him about these episodes, just whatever. Whatever we do, get in contact and we'll say listen episodes 112, episodes 65, just don't listen to those don't do it um yeah, I feel better.

Speaker 2:

it's always good therapy on this and yeah, you know, kind of. It also kind of reminds me of like those basic things of like okay, either just start, or you've hit that point of diminishing returns where actually just starting tomorrow would be more beneficial. Don't just slam your head against the wall. Step away, do something different, and that will help you recoup some of your mental energy to tackle those things the next day.

Speaker 1:

I actually love that as a closer. I think pushing things to tomorrow like it's not, that's not. What is it? Oh my gosh, what's the word Procrastination? It's not procrastination. What it actually is is it's planning for the next day, as opposed to giving more of a wash for your current day. I love that. What a good closer.

Speaker 2:

I don't care how hard you think some of the biggest people in the world work, like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. Yeah, sure, some people can actually sleep a little less, but everybody has that point that they hit where they can't do valuable work anymore, and you've got to balance that. You've got to figure out what your limits are and when you have your best energy according to your circadian rhythm, and once you figure that out you can get a lot of valuable work done. But don't think you can just work 24-7 and be productive.

Speaker 1:

I mean clearly some of them need sleep. Look at the Cybertruck. Yeah, I mean clearly some of them need sleep. Look at the cyber truck. Oh man, Talk about an entire company needs to take a nap.

Speaker 2:

I'm good Clark, you good I'm good, I'm great.

Speaker 1:

Great, I love to hear it. I love to hear when you're great. I, too, feel like we really covered this topic. Thank you for the therapy. As always, you brought the heat today. I just brought the problems, you brought the heat. Thanks for being here, clark.

Speaker 2:

That's why you start a podcast with a buddy. That is why.

Speaker 1:

You just have a good time. That's exactly it. We don't have a what do you meme. So the problem is we play a game show, we do what do you meme. Someone summarizes the episode in a meme format and we force Clark to do the complicated ones, but no one submitted any. So please join our discord. It's corporate strategybiz. The dot B I Z stands for business. Get in our discord and submit some memes, people. We need them.

Speaker 2:

It's that easy. It is that easy Corporate strategybizbiz. And you can find our discord. You can join us in the show notes. It's going to be in the link tree, whatever we're creating, but we're also just going to keep on saying the name because we think it's hilarious CorporateStrategybiz.

Speaker 1:

Even I have that link tree. It's coming soon. I can't wait. It's going to make the show notes so much better, oh one link to rule them all. Well, I think if our listeners have figured anything out, it actually gets done. When I say something, it could be months, really. You know, just a side note, if you were to listen to this podcast and you heard both of us talk, you are far more hireable than I am. Like I'm very problematic, just openly honestly. But then you look at like who gets stuff done?

Speaker 2:

Exactly. This should be a lesson to everybody. Don't just hire the person that can talk. Well, try to figure it out. They have to do things get things done.

Speaker 1:

David allen. Thanks david. All right, we've been. We've been going way too long. Uh, listen, this is a totally I'd say it's listener funded. But let's be real. Here it's bruce fun. It's bruce funded podcast. I fund the podcast. I make it happen. If you want to help us out and support the show, click that link. It's listener funded. But let's be real. Here it's Bruce. It's Bruce funded podcast. I fund the podcast. I make it happen. If you want to help us out and support the show, click that link. It's in the show notes.

Speaker 1:

We'd mind to appreciate it. A dollar, like literally a dollar. Our current operating cost is $20 a month, so we're not close to that. It just comes out of my bank account every week, month, whatever, but it's fine, I'm not stopping. We've been doing this for years. Let's keep doing it. Keep it going. We're going to keep it going for as long as my bank can handle it. And if you do want to give and help, we'd appreciate it. So thank you in advance. And if you can't give, then what you can do is share or get your friends to join the Discord, and that's big right, has so much potential because we continue to do it. Clearly. Share it with your friends, get them to join. Join the Discord. Leave us a nice review.

Speaker 2:

That is equally as helpful. I love it. You got anything else, Clark.

Speaker 1:

That's all she wrote. That is all she wrote. What a good ender. That's all she wrote. I'm Bruce and I'm Clark and you're on mute we'll see you next week.

(Cont.) 115. It's Overwhelming