During this crazy busy time of the year, it seems that our “daily to-do” lists get longer, and longer, and longer.
I’ve often said “an overwhelmed consultant does nothing.” It’s not only true within your business, but it can definitely be true for life in general.
When I find myself hitting that wall, I have learned a few tips to keep moving thru it, and to continue to be productive:
Tip #1: Take a time-out.
Now I’m not talking about the kind of time-out that you give your children when they’re naughty. I’m talking about a “mental time out” where you de-stress.
Set the time for 10 minutes, and find a quiet place to close your eyes, do some deep breathing, and give yourself a chance to relax.
If you meditate, use the 10 minutes for that purpose.
Tip #2: Can you eliminate or delegate anything on your list?
I think sometimes items sneak onto my to-do list – and it’s usually the day or two before I’m going out of town.
A lot of those items really aren’t urgent – and can be crossed off the list.
There are also things that can easily be delegated. The big first for me was hiring someone to clean my house. I really like having a clean house – but I don’t think my time is best spent doing it anymore.
I’m thrilled that I can benefit someone who is much better at that task by hiring them to do the work.
Great for both of us!
Tip #3: Complete an easy task first.
Pick one thing from your “to-do” list that should take very little time, and complete that first. It will feel so good to cross something off – even if it’s a baby step.
Tip #4: Focus
One reason we seem to get more overwhelmed these days is what I would call “too much stimuli.” Our phones keep us much too engaged – and quite frankly – distracted when we have a lot to get done.
Plus, it’s easy to get distracted from one task – or idea – to the next when we’re connected online.
Here’s how I get passed this.
I choose one item from the list that is highest priority to complete. I put my phone on silent, and leave it on the kitchen countertop. Then I head back to my office area (in my case, the sunroom at the back of my townhome) and the ONLY THING I have on the desk is what I need for that particular project.
I can dig in and get it done faster (and frankly, better) by turning off the distractions temporarily. Plus, without all the other projects on the desk – I can focus specifically on the task at hand.
Once I’ve finished, I can check my cell, feel great about crossing that task off the list, and choose the next item from the list…
Tip #5: Keep a list of what you accomplished!
I used to feel so frustrated at the end of the day because I had only dented my “to-do” list. (Of course, my list was completely unreasonable for what it was possible to accomplish in a day…or often even a week!) Often we are thrown curve balls, and we end up doing things that weren’t on the list.
So I started keeping a list of everything I accomplished during the day. It was a way that I could give myself a pat on the back for getting a lot completed.
Take care of yourself first, be realistic in your planning, and put everything in place in your environment to eliminate distractions – and it can help you eliminate feeling overwhelmed.
What are your tips? Please share them in the comments below.