Managing a lot of stuff

Jul 10, 2022

Give yourself a chance to get a lot done and you may be surprised at your ability to keep all those plates spinning.

When I look back on the insane life I was living just a few short years ago – managing two businesses at the same time, working as a teacher of entrepreneurship in The Walton College at the University of Arkansas, having four daughters and a stepdaughter and trying to be a decent parent, in addition to owning a large number of commercial and residential rental properties AND building hot rods and antique auto and motorcycle restorations – I don’t know how I did it all.

The first thing I will admit is I didn’t always do a great job with everything. There were plenty of complaints to go around. That said, I never went broke, never got sued, no one got killed or injured, and my kids all grew up. So, in some ways I was successful.

This morning I woke up at 4:50 a.m. thinking about everything I wanted to do today. While none of it is really that important, I have things I want to get done and will get done. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your “do” list, let me give you my thoughts about five things that may be helpful:

  1. Get up early. If I can get up at 5 a.m. or earlier, I can get seven hours of work done by noon. If I got up at 9, it would take me until 4 p.m. to get the same amount of work done, and by then the day is nearly over. Think about that.
  2. Have a list. I always have my “do” list and I keep it in notes in my phone. When I am done with something, I take it off my list. The phone is always close by whereas paper and pen may not be; hence the reason I keep it there.
  3. Keep everyone in your life informed of your plans for the day. If you want to be able to balance all this stuff, you need to keep your spouse or other family members informed of how you plan to spend your day. It doesn’t mean they won’t be included in any of your plans but rather they need to know what you expect to accomplish that day and why it’s important or you won’t have their support.
  4. Work on the most important stuff first. This is where most people fall down. They make out their lists religiously, but then do all the easy stuff or whatever attracts them the most first, even if it isn’t what is most important to get done. You have got to learn to stop procrastinating on the important stuff and instead attack that head-on as your No. 1 priority. That way even if you don’t get it done you will make progress.
  5. Put your phone down. A big part of being able to stay on task is from avoiding distractions. If you are like me, your phone is probably your biggest source of distraction. You can always get on LinkedIn or Twitter, or some other social media or news site you follow, or check your email and find something you want to get into. But that is a slippery slope. Once that happens, you are taken off task. It’s hard to get back on it.

None of these five points may seem all that profound. But who says they have to be? Most of what you can accomplish is entirely up to you. Give yourself a chance to get a lot done and you may be surprised at your ability to keep all those plates spinning simultaneously!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.