(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)
Chapter 5: "The Pain of Overload"
- After "grumbling" about wanting the author to just get to the solution, I really enjoyed this chapter. I wonder if it stood out to me because I have a problem dealing with overload. I have found it interesting that different guys have seemed to really appreciate certain chapters.
- His basic premise of the chapter is that little things piles up in different areas and then overload us. Once that overload occurs, we are less productive. Implementing margin in our lives will protect us from overload and its damaging effects.
- I believe he is right that stress in a situation to a point aids in productivity. I remember watching an interview with a football coach who had served in the Marine Corps. He talked about learning there that his body could be pushed much farther than he thought. (He then used that knowledge when coaching his team.) The question that comes to my mind, then, is: How do we discern where that line is? How do we know if adding stress will increase function (still going up on the human function curve) or if adding stress will take us toward burnout (going down on the human function curve)?
- He wrote, "Often we do not feel overload sneaking up on us. We instead feel energized by the rapidity of events and the challenge of our full days." (Page 57) I can relate to this. When I have an empty day, I find it hard to get motivated to work ahead. On the other hand, on a day like today in which I feel swarmed, I do feel the energy from all the events/work that need to take place.
- He discussed the different ways people respond to overload. I think my tendency is the hostility that is directed inward. "Having failed their own expectations and the expectations of others, they withdraw into a fog of gloom" (Page 58) is a good description of me at times.
- I thought his point about every person having a different level of involvement was very helpful. I know I need to learn to discern what God wants me to do and let others think what they will. On the other hand, I see the need to give others the freedom to set their own level of involvement without the need for my approval.
- His section about the different types of overload we face was interesting to me.
- "In an attempt to squeeze more things in, we try to do two or three at the same time. Activity overload takes away the pleasure of anticipation and the delight of reminiscence." (Page 60) One of my growing pet peeves is taking pictures when family is together. I have no problem with pictures, but often I feel we get so caught up in trying to preserve a memory, that we don't even have a chance to make memories.
- I do not understand how 186 different choices of breakfast cereal is ANY type of overload. I strongly disagree with this illustration.
- "At this point, choice no longer liberates but debilitates." (Page 61) I know I experience this. If I have to buy a laptop, I'd rather there be 5 to choose from at 1 store/website rather than hundreds of models from dozens of companies with a myriad of options from a multitude of websites. In some ways I would prefer the days where I contact a travel agent and they book my flight. Instead, I feel the need to check dozens of websites to get the best fare.
- Does anybody read my notes? I'm thinking you may just scroll down to the comment section and add your thoughts.
- I've heard statistics similar to it before, but when I read that the average tv is on for 55 hours a week, I shake my head. To me, that illustrates why our country is headed the direction it is. Moldova is not exempt. When looking for apartments, people couldn't seem to understand why we would consider not having a tv. (We ended up getting an apartment with tv and with cable, but that is another story for another time.)
- He asked a great question: "How does one define 'all that we can'?" (Page 63) "Doing all we can" sounds like a noble endeavor, but without some guiding principles, there would never be a place for rest, for peace, for family. I have been challenged to define what "all I can" means for me.
- The point in guarding against overload isn't for us to lay around in a hammock sipping lemonade. I appreciated his saying that there is a way for us to reserve strength for higher battles. As believers and as preachers of the Gospel, there are many worthwhile battles, but often we give much of our strength to the multitude of relatively unimportant tasks.
- His statement that setting limits is an art means that it is not a science. There isn't one way that works for everyone. Each of us have to learn to set limits in our own lives.
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Chapter 4
Discussion on Chapter 6