Mental Burn Rate

Something that took me some time to fully grasp is the challenges we face with work bandwidth. What I mean by this is the amount of work we can realistically take on. Where I made a substantial miscalculation was the issues with legacy workload. We take on projects, build companies, contribute and add value but then when we can be left with just a little bit of annual upkeep work associated with these projects. This can then add up as the years go by and you can become a very busy and therefore very overwhelmed person. You need time for yourself, you need time to work on your creativity and that is why it is so important that you maintain a work-life balance to ensure that you are nurturing yourself.

First let’s discuss the solution to this, delegation. You must find good people who can take on certain roles so that you don’t lose bandwidth. This is how you fix the existing problem. But a better way is to resolve issues in the first place. As an example at the time of writing, I’m working with a group that wishes to purchase a substantial amount of whisky in casks. They wish to age it speculating on the capital appreciation of whisky casks that can be seen in data provided by the government. It’s a solid plan but my advice to them was very simple, do not try to build a distillery, this will take on substantial extra workload and risk. The unknowns and variables to contend with greatly increase and also lead to a lot more ongoing work and responsibility. We instead agreed to work with a collection of proven, credible and reliable distilleries who are doing it for us at such a competitive price that it makes sense. This project/deal has now become a question of good quality contracts and arrangements with professionals who know what they are talking about. The logistics will now involve working with a smoother process. What do we lose out on? Ok, we could have a distillery and be building our own brands from that but we can always do this later so I don’t feel we have lost much compared to the simplicity of what we have gained by keeping it simple.

The old expression is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! A friend of mine used to love to use this expression and it has served me incredibly well over the years. Always be on the hunt for what is straightforward and quickly actionable as a solution. You don’t need a perfect plan, it doesn’t exist, this isn’t Ocean’s Eleven, you just need to get down to business with what works and what is functional.

Alexander Johnson

Alexander Johnson

Alexander Johnson is a leading educator and strategist