It all “has to be done today” and the hours keep speeding by! Your time left gets smaller. Your stress gets bigger and ahhhh… you’re overwhelmed. Just how well do you perform when you’re overwhelmed? Yep, that’s what I thought: Not well at all and usually at about the speed of cold molasses. It’s true. So how DO you keep from feeling overwhelmed?
This is a topic of discussion in the upcoming Contagious Leadership Conference One Day Executive Retreat and well, there are technically only 3 ways:
Part of what stresses us out is the “want to get it all done today” or “now”. The more we “want” it that way, the more that desire becomes a voice that says we “SHOULD” get it done today, as the want kept up over time just becomes a habit we think we should continue. And if you “should”, well then… that is a motivator! (please read significant sarcasm there!) Just because you write it on your list to do, doesn’t mean it CAN get done today, but the should voice drowns out reality or the objective measurement of time at times. And it all starts with the “Wanting” to get it done today. Maybe it’s okay to want something to get done, when it needs to get done, but worry less about exactly when that that is.
We are a nation of doers. We promote into leadership those who “get it done” or “get it right” and while that may raise productivity, does it really keep you focused on those things that matter most or will achieve your strategy? Likely not considering what we usually DO are those things that we can check off the list fastest or with the least amount of effort. How often do you do those things that might be a C or D priority in the ABC scale, when what you really need to do are the A items? But because A priority items require thought, time, and more effort, we procrastinate them incessantly and fill our days with little checkmarks that really don’t mean much. Do less of the little and more of the big so you are less overwhelmed. No one freaks out if the filing isn’t done, but they might freak out if the bigger project hasn’t been tackled, but the file cabinets are pretty.
This may well be my favorite. Calling all “SQUIRRELS” here. Calling all those who have difficulty reaching figuratively into the tornado of their brain and finding just that one right item to focus on at this one right time. It can get crowded in there at times. Even this morning, I had 7 things to do, but did 25 things before I got to item number 3 as I found it difficult to focus on just those items on my list. Not sure what that’s about, but its left me a bit overwhelmed for the rest of the afternoon knowing that I want to do a lot more before 5pm then I’ve done thus far. Hmmm…
That feeling of being overwhelmed is contagious and will spread to all kinds of other things. Leaders learn to do what needs to be done first instead of all the little easy things. They learn to want less of the little stuff and more big stuff, do more of the big stuff first before the little stuff, and to stay focused on that item until it’s completed. Now, if that process alone seems a bit overwhelming…. Well, then that’s a whole different blog post. But, if as a leader, you struggle with this issue and the management of your “adminis-trivia” at the office, check out the upcoming Contagious Leadership One Day Executive Retreat. It’ll greatly reduce the amount of times you feel overwhelmed!!