I stopped doing this, and now I have more bandwidth!
Do you want to know what I stopped doing?
It’s going to sound so silly, but I bet you may have something similar in your life too.
I stopped buying ice. Yes, I stopped buying ice, and I realized by not buying ice, I had more peace and bandwidth. It’s crazy how less is so much more.
For the last few years, I would buy my ice because the taste of extra filtered water has been delightful to me, and it was a treat for me.
However, sometimes I would get stressed and annoyed when I ran out of ice.
As I reflect on all the times when I was planning and organizing my life to make sure I had ice and balancing all I had to do with needing to run out to get ice, I can see how much stress I was causing myself by buying ice.
It seems so “duh,” now. I remember a sense of dread coming over me anytime I had to refill my water, especially when I needed to put more ice in it. But I would persevere forward because I thought I had to have ice. I didn’t think about trying new ways until a few weeks ago when I began researching ways to improve spleen function.
I stopped putting ice in my water because health is also a significant value of mine. While I knew drinking cold beverages was not good for the human body, I didn’t care. However, I am working on healing my stomach, spleen, and inflammation. I decided to try it as the research literature encourages one to stop drinking cold and ice-cold beverages. I had no idea the additional peace of mind and extra bandwidth I would gain from letting go of needing my water a certain way.
You increase your body’s hydration absorption when you drink lukewarm or room-temperature water. Plus, it takes stress off your body. It preserves energy because your body must first warm the water or food before absorbing the nutrients.
I killed two birds with one stone and increased my mental and physical well-being! SCORE!
Rigid thinking and being inflexible is real bandwidth destroyers. These subtle things can quickly create a compound effect.
I didn’t realize I had more bandwidth until walking into my boyfriend’s house. I don’t like the ice at his house, so sometimes I would get semi-stressed out preparing to go to his house because I HAD to make sure my water bottle was filled with a certain amount of ice so I could have things perfectly. (Insert eye roll).
When I got to his house, I realized, “Wow, it’s so nice not needing to have ice anymore. I have all this extra bandwidth to focus on other things… things that are far more important.”
Perfectionistic thinking will also eat up your bandwidth. We know that we only have a certain amount of bandwidth daily. Still, it’s also easy to go through the motions in life instead of asking ourselves if this is the best way to spend our bandwidth, which also takes bandwidth.
While I wish I was a superhero and could do everything and not have to practice sacrifice, I must be realistic and remember I am a human. By the way, wishing you could do everything is another sign of perfectionistic thinking.
One of my favorite verses comes from Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 NLT:
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work?
The point is God has a season for everything. It’s necessary to grow your spiritual discernment abilities to identify the season you are in, which is done through having a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Besides, what is the point of working hard if you sacrifice your mind, body, and essential relationships?
If you jump to verse 3: 11 -13 NLT, it says,
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
Did you read what verse 12 said? There’s nothing better than being happy and enjoying ourselves as long as possible. Many people work themselves to death, and since 80% of all Primary Care visits are stress related, I think it’s a reasonable speculation.
This brings me to delegation.
We know that we must protect our bandwidth. Steve Jobs, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and other financially successful business leaders are known for wearing the same thing every day to preserve their bandwidth. Part of protecting your bandwidth requires you to delegate everything but genius.
Suppose your company is bringing in a consistent $10k a month. In that case, you are in a place to start delegating everything but genius. By the way, that delegation can look like hiring an Executive Coach to help you learn the cognitive, leadership, and self-awareness skills to help you reach the next level.
Iron sharpens iron.
Delegation can be terrifying. I know many small and medium size business owners who would rather do it themselves because they don’t want to take the time to teach another person their expectations. They think it’s easier to do it themselves, yet, in the long run, it’s not.
Delegation can be scary. A plethora of “what ifs…” can quickly run through your mind.
What if…. They mess up…. I waste money…. They suck…. I pick the wrong person… etc.
You know what I have learned in my 33 years of existence. Failure doesn’t exist because every situation is a learning experience if you allow it to be. Plus, God redeems all things for those who love Him. If the most extraordinary spirit in the world is for you, who can be against you? Food for thought!
Therefore, delegate with faith!
When hiring someone, don’t rush the process, get clear on the tasks and standards of those tasks, communicate your expectations in written format, be open-minded, and then pick the candidate with the best attitude and a strong work ethic. Then trust God with the rest.
To recap, what minor tasks do you need to let go of? What are the small daily, weekly, or monthly things you are doing out of obligation or steaming from that perfectionistic core belief?
If you aren’t sure, look for the things that frustrate you, stress you out, or the things you dread. Listen for the words like “have to,” “ought to,” “must,” or “should,” as these are HUGE indicators you are living by rigid rules at an automatic level, meaning it’s stemming from a deeply ingrained core belief. You also want to look for product-minded or all-or-nothing thinking. If you aren’t sure if you have all-or-nothing thinking, then take my free What Thinking Trap is Limiting Your Performance Quiz.
Of course, there are some things we cannot say no to or delegate. But you can identify your season and give yourself a break. Maybe this season, you are doing less. Perhaps this season, you are to focus on your family. Or maybe you are to deconstruct, allowing more straightforward construction in the next season.
I know many people who are pretty busy – too busy—and while their standards are immaculate, they may have to settle for good enough this season.
What are the tasks you could easily delegate to someone else?
For this one, think of the things anyone can do and then wait for that thought of “ugh, but I can do it better.”
When you have that thought, you know it’s a task that is not in your genius realm but your control realm. Training a person can be frustrating, but that frustration typically results from not knowing how to communicate your expectations or what needs to be done. Therefore, as a leader, this is a perfect opportunity for you to improve your effective communication skills, training skills, and flexibility and then take a leap of faith. Let’s be honest; these things don’t improve on their own. You have to be intentional about personal and professional development.
The more you can delegate, the more bandwidth you will have to do the important things. Who knows, maybe by taking something off your plate as menial as buying ice, you will have an “aha” moment that propels you forward, quickly advancing your personal and professional growth.
Take some time to think about what you must stop doing and what you need to delegate.
I’m rooting for you!