Ever felt totally swamped, like there’s way too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all, and there’s even more stuff piling up and your in box is overflowing and your head is exploding and you’re cranky with everyone and seem to be living at your desk, in fact you can’t even remember the last time you saw daylight or had two minutes for lunch. Total overwhelm. Total chaos. And it feels like you’re never going to get your head above water. Ever felt like that?
I have a time or two and it can be pretty bad.
I’ve been lucky enough to have learnt from various mentors over the years and now have a plan for when things start to spiral out of control.
It starts with a list. It’s more of a brain dump really, and the idea is to get everything out of your head and onto the paper. Hand written is best. Write down all the things, as you think of them – the order isn’t important. Once you’ve got it all out of your head re-read your list and write down anything else that comes up.
There, don’t you feel better already?
Once it’s out of your head you’re going to go through it with a couple of different coloured highlighter pens.
For each item you need to make a decision.
Is this something that you really need to do? If it’s something that you’ve been ‘meaning to’ get to for over six months then there’s a good chance you actually don’t need to do it at all and you can just delete it. Cross it out. Get rid of it. Gone. Don’t feel quite ready to delete? You can add it to your ‘one day’ list on the proviso that if it’s still there in another six months you’ll delete it then. Pick a colour to highlight your ‘one day’s’ and cross out the deleted things.
Next are the things that you can get someone else to do for you. I know, I know, nobody else can do it as well as you can. But the point is, while that’s probably true, if it is at all possible for someone else to do it then you should delegate it so that you can do the things that nobody else can. Let go of your need to control all the things. Let someone else step up and have a go. Sure, it may not be done the same as you would do it, but if you give clear instructions, set some guidelines and do some training then it will get done a lot sooner and the difference in quality will most likely be something that only you will see. If not, redo it. But in the meantime you’ve been freed up to do your thing, that thing you can’t delegate. Pick a different colour and highlight everything you can delegate.
Okay, so you’ve deleted and you’ve delegated. What next?
The things that are left should be the things that only you can do. Read through to see if there is anything else you can delete or delegate. What’s left is your ‘DO’ list. Now you need to get busy!
Your DO list should be prioritsed. Number each item in the order it needs to be done and then you might need to re-write it in order. Or not. It’s up to you.
I hope this helps you to beat the overwhelm.
Tune in next time for tips on how to do your DO.