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The Thinking Lab - When to Say 'No' to Overload - for Members
March 24, 2020 –
Topic: When to Say 'No' to Overload
I've argued for years that you need to take overload seriously. When you are overloaded, your mind is not in a functional state. You can't make valid judgments or hold the full context.
My approach has been to offer a graded series of tactics to help overcome overload and variants such as confusion and conflict. It's almost always worth 3 minutes to try to clear the overload. 80% of the time, that will resolve it. If not, then you try a 10 minute tactic. 80% of the time that will do it. If you can't resolve it in 10, you have a good chance of resolving it with a 30 minute tactic. And so on.
However, sometimes you don't have the time to resolve this particular issue. Not even 3 minutes. What can you do?
On the advice of Brooke Castillo, I've been experimenting with saying "no" to overload. This doesn't mean I ignore it, but it does mean I don't dig in to resolve it. Instead, I take it as a given that this situation is too much for my brain to handle at the moment, and given that, I go up to the meta-level and decide how I am going to take charge of the situation.
I've found this to be an empowering option. We'll discuss when to use this tactic, how to take charge in these situations, mistakes to avoid, and why this is good for your sense of self.