Has your new year started out with a lot to do? Does it already feel unmanageable? How do you handle having too much to do?
As a manager, you juggle your own work, managing teams or projects and dealing with colleagues, customers and upper management. It’s a lot. Do you have an approach or system for managing when you become overloaded?
Here are some suggestions. Recognize the signs that you are becoming, or are already, overloaded. Once these signs appear, stop and reassess the situation. Identify the choices you have and decide how you will proceed. Cultivate your ability to discern what really are priorities and to say no when it is called for. Make a commitment not to run yourself into the ground while trying to do the impossible. That only lowers the quality of your work product and leaves you ineffective.
Your ability to manage well depends on your ability to effectively say “too much”.
photo: stevepb, pixabay.com
Yes, this is a bit of an intense picture (notice though, she is breathing). However, being overwhelmed or “under water” in your work, is intense as well. As I looked at this picture, I thought about how stress and overwhelm curtail your productivity and performance. They wear you down, affect your physical, mental and emotional well being, diminish your judgment, get you off center and weaken you.
You don’t want to be there and it is worth the time and effort to maintain balance in your life. Keep yourself above water, swimming strong and enjoying the view.
When overwhelm sets in or a path is not clear, try another perspective. Rising above a situation is always helpful. Doing so, creates distance between you and the situation and gives you another view. From there, you can decide how you will proceed.
What are some ways to rise above? A first step is to move away from the situation – physically, mentally and emotionally. Find your center and create some quiet. Or, do something completely different and engrossing, so much so, that you completely separate. It’s as if you are flying into the silence of the sky above. Then, observe how the situation looks from a distance. Is anything different? Is a way to handle it clear?
It is difficult when you are surrounded by the cacophony of a situation to find harmony. Rising above gets you away from the noise and often provides a beautiful view!
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Sometimes important things disappear from our memory and focus. Lapses are usually temporary, but they can seriously disrupt things. All of a sudden it’s Wednesday and you realize you missed an important deadline or appointment on Tuesday.
Many things can cause you to lapse: distraction, overwhelm, stress. What can you do? The best defense against lapsing may be that you live fully present in the moment. Stay grounded and you will remember that appointment. In reality, that is not a constant state, is it? Short of it, you can do your best to manage stress, see the signs that you are moving into overwhelm and improve your focus on what needs to happen within your day.
Lapses happen. However, best that our lapses be few. Lapses do you no good. Lessen their probability and stay on your game.
photo: “Forget Me Nots”, franky242, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Life is moving at the speed of light these days. It is easy to find yourself in overwhelm. Here are some strategies for getting out of overwhelm.
1. Walk away. It may seem impossible, but even if just for a few minutes, it will help you restore your center.
2. Laugh. Shift the energy of the moment.
3. Organize. Look at what needs to be done, prioritize and plan.
4. Adjust your expectations to the reality of the present moment.
5. Examine where the urgency is coming from.
6. Ask yourself, is this stress worth it?
7. Take note of how your body is reacting to your overwhelm.
8. Identify the core source of your overwhelm.
9. Debrief when it’s over, to avoid it in the future.
10. Make balance a priority.
photo: jesadaphorn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you find yourself saying you have no time? Sometimes, saying you have no time makes it so. It can be a way of throwing up your hands, in lieu of sorting through the demands on your time, deciding on priorities and getting out of overwhelm. What’s the reality for you? Is saying you have no time a way for you to stay in overwhelm or to avoid certain things? Or, are you willing to create a positive relationship with time and get things done?
photo: Photodynamix, Dreamstime.com
How is your workload? If you are overwhelmed, or not keeping up, try stopping. Bring yourself fully to the present moment to assess the situation you are in. Our world has sped up and keeping up gets more and more challenging. Someone once said to me that the world would speed up so much that we would be forced to find the still point at the center of the storm. By stopping, you can find that still point, regroup and make the choices needed to move forward, without overwhelm or too much to do.
photo: boulemonademoon, FreeDigitaPhotos.net