The Perfect Squeeze Play

Oct 17, 2013 | The ONE Thing | 0 comments

Today, everyone is harried – and it’s no wonder. We get bombarded with more information in a day than our ancestors got in a lifetime. Advances in technology and innovation connect us to the world’s nearly 7 billion inhabitants. We’re exposed to exabytes of information that are created daily to populate more than 1 trillion Web pages and counting.

squeeze play

We’re caught in a conundrum of choosing more instead of choosing among opportunities. We try to cram more and more into already overbooked, overcrowded and overwhelmed calendars. The result is that one in three of us report “always feeling rushed,” a number that has doubled since 1965 and continues to climb.

It’s time for a squeeze play to get past the time squeeze.

Why a Squeeze Play?

In baseball a squeeze play occurs when a batter makes a sacrifice bunt in order to advance a runner from third to home. The batter is essentially giving up his hit in order for the team to score a run. It’s the perfect example of making a choice to forgo one thing—getting on first—for something more important—getting a run.

The batter of course would prefer to have it all—get on base and knock in the run. But the likelihood of that happening isn’t great. Lots of other things could get in the way of achieving both the run and getting to first. The squeeze play is a much more pragmatic way of winning the game.

In life, you’re the batter and something’s got to give. You can keep swinging away and striking out, occasionally getting a hit. Or you can choose to focus on what’s most important and the best way to achieve it.

Sacrificing to Score

It’s time to break the “must do everything” cycle with a bunt. There are numerous things that play into the suffocating time squeeze we’re under:

  • Computers, the Internet, email—they’ve all brought work out of the office and into the home. Workdays have continuously become more time consuming, even if hours aren’t spent on the clock.
  • The rise of multitasking has coincided with the decline in efficiency. The myth of multitasking is now being busted, but the idea is so engrained in our minds that we have to essentially retrain our brains to focus on ONE Thing at a time.
  • Wearing multiple hats leads to headaches when we try to do everything all at once.  Dual-earner families outnumber breadwinner-homemaker households 3-to-1 today. This means in more and more families, two people are taking care of four jobs – 2 jobs at work, the role of mother and the role of father.

The solution to the time squeeze is prioritizing. When we prioritize we are choosing to focus on ONE Thing and pushing less important things aside. Prioritization is acknowledging that you can’t do everything at once.

4 Steps to the Perfect Squeeze Play

  1. Time block your days – This sets you up to be focused on priorities. Don’t forget to add in time off for relaxation.
  2. Shut off the screens – Smart phones, tablets, laptops, TVs when more than one of them is in front of you, focus goes out the window.
  3. Know you’re limits and when to say no – Prioritizing is about sacrifice. If you can’t handle something or don’t really have the time for something that isn’t a priority then pass it up.
  4. Take it ONE Thing at a time – When you’re at work take it one task at a time and leave things at the office. Studies have shown that focusing on ONE Thing at a time instead of multitasking and setting strict cutoffs for when work needs to be done help to improve production. You’re working smarter not harder.

When you practice the squeeze play you’re essentially creating a filter for your life. It’s about shutting off all the distractions and gaining back your sense of feeling like time is on your side. So, what’s your perfect squeeze play?

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