The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Performance Load'?

Performance Load is what happens when you have too many things to do. Above a certain point, your performance in all tasks decreases. You must set limits to be productive.

Set aside unscheduled time to handle the unexpected. If your agenda is always full, you won't be able to handle surprises that might come your way.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Performance Load'

Being busy is better than being bored, but it’s possible to be too busy for your own good.

Performance Load is a concept that explains what happens when you have too many things to do. Above a certain point, the more tasks a person has to do, the more their performance on all of those tasks decreases.

Imagine juggling bowling pins. If you’re skilled, you may be able to juggle three or four without making a mistake. The more pins that must be juggled at once, the more likely you are to make a mistake and drop them all.

If you want to be productive, you must set limits. Juggling hundreds of active tasks across scores of projects is not sustainable in the long-term: you’re risking failure, sub-par work, and burnout. Remember Parkinson’s Law: if you don’t set a limit on your available time, your work will expand to fill it all. If you don’t draw the line somewhere, work will consume all of your energy, and you’ll inevitably burn out.

Limits always have consequences — if you’re not prepared to handle the consequences, it’s not really a limit. If you’re working for a manager who expects you to work twenty hours a day, seven days a week, telling them no by setting limitations on your working hours may cost you your job. Working that pace is completely unrealistic, but if you’re not willing to accept the possibility of losing the job, you haven’t really set the limit.

In order to handle the unexpected, you must have unscheduled time to respond to new inputs. The default mindset of many modern businesses is that “down time” is inefficient and wasteful — workers should be busy all the time.

Unfortunately, this philosophy ignores the necessity of handling unexpected events, which always occur. Everyone only has so many hours in a day, and if your agenda is constantly booked solid, it’ll always be difficult to keep up with new and unexpected demands on your time and energy.

You can’t perform at 110% of your capacity at all times — use the 4 Methods of Completion to eliminate, defer, or delegate marginally valuable work that contributes to Performance Load. By keeping some capacity in reserve, you’ll be ready to handle your Most Important Tasks immediately.

Questions About 'Performance Load'


"If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges."

Charles Boyle, former U.S. congressional liaison for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


From Chapter 7:

Working With Yourself


https://personalmba.com/performance-load/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →