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February 21, 2022

When You're Playing Catch Up

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We all encounter times when life seems to run off the rails and we fall behind where we want to be. It can be stressful because you already have so much on your plate, and now you need to do extra to get back up to speed. Today I want to share a few ways to think about how to get on track and catch up.

First I want to share something I learned from my friend and mentor Mark Divine, who is a former Navy SEAL. There’s an expression in the SEALs that goes “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” The reason I bring this up is because when you’re behind and playing catch up it seems natural to do everything faster. But what happens is with speed we can lose control and end up making mistakes and doing more harm than good. So while it might seem counterintuitive, when you need to catch up on things focus on going slower, because slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Another thing I'd recommend is to prioritize. When there’s so much to do it can be overwhelming. Largely your to-do list is made up with non-critical things. You feel behind when you’re late on deadlines or expectations, but there’s usually only a handful of things that actually contribute to getting something done. So when you slow down you’ll have the space to determine what is most important so you can attack it head on.

This is also complemented by an important law of human behavior - momentum. Once you get going things start to get easier. So while it all might be daunting and it paralyzes you from even getting started the sooner you get yourself going the sooner more pieces will start to move into place.

So when you’re playing catch up pause to remember those 3 pieces - Go slow, prioritize what needs to get done, and get started so that you build momentum. Let me bring this together by asking an indirect question - What do you fall behind on in your life that requires you to play catch up often?

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