Death By A Thousand Cuts

Death by a thousand cuts is a phrase to describe failure due to a combination of small reasons.

This often occurs when you are too busy, but when you try to cut the time back you realise it is not an easy task.

Another variation of the term is Distractions By A Thousand Cuts that refers to a failure that occurs as a result of many small issues rather than one major one.

Common Distractions That Kill Your Productivity

Although you might be a grafter who takes action constantly you might have underlying issues with productivity caused by your distractions.

Finding your flow state of mind is a super important task you need to understand.

You Are Asking Me This WHY

If you are getting questions or emails and wondering “Why Are You Asking Me This?” then your systems are more than likely wrong.

Why Managers Get This Wrong?

Managers are eager to prove their worth, trying to assist employees constantly. With common responses like:

  • I’ll help you with that
  • Here’s what you should do
  • Let me show you

Most are ready to answer every question and resolve every issue because that’s what many managers think their role is. But the truth is the best managers empower their team to make their own decisions.

You Were Blessed With Initiative, Use It and Demonstrate You Have Something To Offer

Being a little too eager to help can leave you with, well, helpless employees.

Once they’ve made a habit of leaning on you for advice, they start consulting you before doing anything but they should be confident to handle this on their own.

How to Eliminate This Problem?

As managers, you need to find the answer to “How can I get my team to make more decisions on their own?”

If too many decisions are made by the manager, the manager becomes a bottleneck and teams become less effective. So how do you teach people to make more and better decisions? Here are some effective ways to empower your team:

  • Encourage the team to make their own decisions
  • If they ask you for help reply with “What do you think?”
  • Do not offer ideas, offer questions so they answer their own problem
  • Respond to the question with “Let me google that for you”
  • Make them aware your best teacher is your last mistake
  • If I was not here what initiative would you take?
  • PAUSE for a while and see whether they answer their own question which happens regularly
  • Emphasize Your Trust as indecision or helplessness often stems from insecurity and worry

Let Me Google That For You

From seeing above you need to respond without giving them the direct answer but trying to empower your team to not keep asking you questions on everything.

Stop Wasting Time Copying Me On Emails

Am I unreasonable for getting so annoyed about everyone at work copying me in on emails?

I have to read through the whole email trail to see what has been said and then just found out, they have done it to keep me in the loop.

We should have a policy to only cc people if we want a reply from those people. If you’re not expecting a reply, tell them about the issue at next opportunity.

Death By A Thousand Cuts - Copied in On Emails

The message needs to be that ‘I trust you, so don’t need to be copied on every email. You go develop and let my inbox be a lot healthier’.

This is one of the biggest death by a thousand distracting cuts which is where the systems needs improving.

Stop Double Checking Everything

One of the most irritating traits is when everything gets put on your desk to just double check it.

When having to double-check everything to drains your motivation and your brain is your bitch.

Your Best Teacher is Your Last Mistake

So trying to eliminate excessive questions or people double checking things is important to scaling because employees need to make mistakes and learn on their own two feet to grow.

Death By A Thousand Cuts - Stop Double Checking Everything

Encourage and force your staff to go with what they feel is right because otherwise, paralysis by analysis will kick into your team. Procrastination within the team can be very hard to manage so make sure no staff suffer from procrastinating.

Procrastination is one of the worst things that can happen within your team.

If you are procrastinating or suffering from ‘analysis paralysis’ you are simply not working and so your business will not improve. You need to be analysing different aspects and then putting them into action!

Make sure you educate your team about analysis paralysis and don’t let them fall into the procrastination stage.

Stop Nagging On Petty Little Things

If people are going to gossip or nag about petty little things please do not involve me.

I love this article I did on wasted time is worse than wasted money and ideally, I want a positive mindset. So do not moan as that is being negative and also wasting my time so it is a double blow.

Death By A Thousand Cuts - Stop Nagging

Don’t Ask Questions You Already Know The Answer To

Please Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to.

This is such a waste of time.


Why would you even ask a question you know the answer to?

It is usually a lack of confidence or when staff are trying to shirk responsibility.

They want to have the backup of ‘well he told me to do that’.

Death By A Thousand Cuts - You Already Know The Answer

Do not allow your staff of virtual assistants the habit of leaning on you for advice.

Ask them what they would do if you were not there and reassure them they are right and not to keep checking everything by you when they already know the answers to the questions.

Do Not Wait for Your Ship to Come in Swim Out to Meet it

I love this mindset of Not Waiting for The Ship to Come in but to go Swim Out to Meet it.

Another saying similar to this in football is – “do not wait for the ball to come to your feet but meet the ball”.

This is about using your initiative to meet potential problems and try to eliminate the issue of just waiting for things to happen because they wont.

Do Not Wait for Your Ship to Come in. Swim Out to Meet it

This sort of quote is driven towards the naysayers who sit back and wonder why life is passing them by because they are not taking the bull by its horns and making things happen.

You need to go out and meet your problems and keep wanting to progress because the ship is not going to come on land to pick you up im afraid.

It is Better To Ask For Forgiveness Than To Get Permission

As an employer, I would never have a go at a member of staff for trying something to better the company.

If it failed in what we tried we learn from these failures and go again. Failing is good as it is where you learn.

It is Better To Ask For Forgiveness Than To Get Permission

The saying “It is Better To Ask For Forgiveness Than To Get Permission” is so true because asking for permission can take time and this costs money.

Any business wanting to grow needs to empower their staff to make decisions and these will accelerate the company growth at a ridiculous rate of knots.

Death By a Thousand Distracting Cuts Images

Here are some more images to do with death by a thousand distracting cuts.

Take The Plunge

What Decision Would You Take

Here above is a great response to any questions you get to test your team whether they already know the answer to the question.

Train Staff To Think For Themselves

I Should Have Hired a Data Entry. I Do The Work Anyway and You Just Enter It In

In business, you have technicians, managers, and entrepreneurs.

Make sure they have the confidence and experience to fulfil their role.

If you have managers asking questions they should already know then hiring and firing of the staff is key to making sure you educate the staff with the minimal amounts of skill to fulfil the tasks. But in return managers with the knowledge then educate and develop the team.

Make Mistakes

Anyone Who Has Never Made a Mistake Has Never Tried Anything New. Stop Asking and Start Researching

Anyone Who Has Never Made a Mistake Has Never Tried Anything New. Stop Asking and Start Researching.

We all have access to the more resources than anyone of past time has ever had with youtube and google at our fingertips.

Trust Yourself

You Are Here Because You Are Capable. Winners Find Ways, Losers Find Excuses

You Are Here Because You Are Capable. Winners Find Ways, Losers Find Excuses.

If your boss or partner was not available to answer your query over 90% of the time you would find the solution to this.


This article is working progress and is going to be added onto with more examples of the DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS.

I read this article about 15 Habits That May Make Someone Irritating Without Realizing It and I started to relate to many of the points in this blog thinking I suffer from doing many of these bad traits.

I started to question myself and realised I always seem to be sinking at work and needing to play catch up constantly which can consequently lead to irritating habits in the present moment like being glued to the phone.

Let Me Google That For You

The more I looked into this death by a thousand distracting cuts problem to more I started to understand my constant distractions.

I am going to enjoy sharing this article when I start to get these pointless interruptions in my workplace.

Disclaimer: I take full responsibility for these distractions because previously have asked to be kept in the loop. This is not a staff, supplier or partner issue but one of my own that I needed to sort out. Blaming others is pointless because it is myself that allows this to happen. And in my opinion, you should always blame yourself or your systems in business because it is not normally a staffing problem but a systems issue you need to implement.

Empowering your partners, team and staff is very important and praising them when they do something good is super important.

They can grow into the roles with minimal queries being asked.

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