Are You Doing Too Many Things at Once?

We are all overworked, overstressed and overcommitted.

Yet we seldom know why.

Our projects are too demanding, we say. Or maybe it’s because our backlogs are too big. We believe it’s because our jobs are too important. We’re too special to slow down.

But we’re wrong.

It’s because we – as individuals, teams and companies – are doing too many things at once.

At any given time, you have a choice. You can be starting something – or finishing something.

Value, however, only comes from completion.

We want to limit our work-in-progress (WIP) so we can have the time to actually finish our work.

When we limit our WIP, we focus, we complete and we move on. We finish faster, our quality improves … and our customers rejoice.

When we do too much, we don’t, it doesn’t … and they revolt.

Limit WIP or die.

Learn more about why and how to limit your WIP:


Tonianne DeMaria Barry

Tonianne is an author, systems thinker, photographer and historian. She looks beyond obvious problems for social and systemic root causes. Along with her creative partner, Jim Benson, she's author of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life (recipient of the Shingo Research & Publication Award), and Why Kanban Works. Connect with her via Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Are You Doing Too Many Things at Once?

  1. Limiting WIP is one of the hardest things to do on a personal level, yet provides one of the biggest benefits. I can actually get stuff done!

    If I didn’t limit my work, I would spend my days chasing squirrels. OK, I would spend MORE of my days chasing squirrels. Limiting WIP is like a temporary blast of squirrel-away.

  2. Nice Post! I think that doing too many things can be very challenging and exhausting and not always successful because of it , but at the same time it makes sense when you don’t believe in a keeping all your eggs in one basket approach.

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