Drinking from a Fire Hose


Tips for Managing the Workload

If you are like me, you are constantly juggling multiple projects and priorities. The constant and relentless stream of emails. The frequent meetings. Planning for upcoming events. Coaching junior staff. Making decisions large and small. Keeping up with the solid waste industry (and the association sector) by reading articles, usually online. Scanning social media for news and business information.

A former boss of mine referred to it as drinking from a fire hose. Of course, no one actually drinks from a fire hose, but it provides a vivid image of what it’s like trying to be a high performing leader in 2019.

The question is, how do you control the fire hose, so it’s not controlling you?

Candidly, it’s not easy. One advantage that technology provides is that the line between work and home can be erased and much of what we referred to as “work” can now be performed at home. This means some tasks can be performed on the couch, in the evening. However, it is equally important to occasionally disconnect from the digital tethers that bind us to co-workers, clients, customers, and members. Whether it’s exercise, pleasure reading, or binge-watching Game of Thrones, it is essential to find time for yourself. And of course, make time for your spouse and children, as appropriate. Work to live, not live to work, right?

As an empty nester, I have more time than before to focus on work, and specifically, on broadening SWANA’s growing reputation as the premier waste and recycling association in North America. This means I often review social media before I get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes send emails to staff at 9 pm. But for me, this helps manage the fire hose, and allows me to then turn off the phone, and concentrate on what’s really important:

Baseball (a topic for a future blog post).





Biderman, David_SWANA CEO_hi res_headshot

David Biderman, Executive Director and CEO of SWANA

David Biderman is the Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and has been a leader in the waste industry for more than 20 years. Mr. Biderman joined SWANA in April 2015 after 18 years with the National Waste & Recycling Association, where he was their General Counsel, Vice President for Government Affairs and Safety Director. Mr. Biderman is the former industry lobbyist in New York City and is very passionate about safety. Mr. Biderman was the recipient of Preco’s Safety in Motion award for 2016, given to an individual who is making a difference on safety. He has provided safety and compliance training to thousands of workers throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to entering the waste industry, Mr. Biderman was an attorney at the Washington DC law firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he specialized in environmental and transportation law. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Johns Hopkins University.