I was having a chat with one of my friends at a social event recently and he asked me how my week was. This was a Sunday afternoon in July. I was surprised by my own answer. “It’s been not just a full-on week, but a non stop work filled year and my calendar is full”.
I was overwhelmed with work and I had to do something about it.
I wonder if anyone reading this piece feels the same way?
I won’t bore you with the details of my week but I have been procrastinating and taking longer to get things done.
Within the same week I completely forgot to attend a meeting that I had confirmed my attendance just earlier in the day, I drove home from church leaving my friend behind whom I promised to give a ride home and I skipped my weekly exercise because I told myself that I didn’t have the time to exercise.
This was beginning to look like a situation I had experienced six years ago when I felt really stressed out with work.
So here are six things I did then to get me through the feeling of overwhelm. If you are feeling overwhelmed or over worked at the moment, you may want to give one or two of these a try.
It seems like I have been saying yes to too many things and now there is no more room in my life to say yes to some of the great opportunities that will be coming my way. Learning to say no with a smile is one of the things you need to do to always have margin in your life. Here’s a book recommended to me which you might want to read. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst includes some helpful tips for saying no. .
#2. Use the two minute rule
I picked this rule up from John Meese and I continue to make time and work savings just by applying this rule. In summary, if you can complete a task in less than two minutes, you should do it immediately and not put it aside to be done later. The 2 minute rule is good for tackling email overload, mail overload and minor tasks at home and at work.
#3. Go for completion and not perfection
This has helped me meet many of my deadlines especially when it involves writing. We all have the tendency to pass our own personal judgement on our work and this means that the work takes longer to complete. This is fuelled by procrastination which increases the chances that targets will be missed. Do the work by Seth Godin is a helpful resource on this.
#4. Get help
Build a team and get the work done rather that you being the person to do the work. This reminds me of the need to work on my business and not work in my business. Spend the time upfront to teach and train others and you will be surprised how easy it is to delegate to empower and build skills in others. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is a recommended reading.
#5. Make a list and prioritise
This is by far the quickest way to get out of overwhelm. All you need to do is to make a list of all your outstanding tasks and commitments. Arrange your tasks in order of priority and get them done one at a time from top to bottom. Do not skip any task as long as it is in the right place on your priority list.
Arrange your commitments also in order of priority and re-look at them. Decide to either say yes to the commitment in which case you keep it or to say no and simply get in touch whoever you have to get in touch with and tell them why you are unable to keep the commitment. Proverbs 6:2-4 is very helpful.
So these are my recipe for dealing with overwhelm.
Why not give one or two of these a try and leave a comment.