2018 has started out with a bang for many of my clients and colleagues. It seems like the intensity of expectations has ratcheted up with few prospects of any slackening on the horizon.
When you’re not prepared for a work-related tsunami, it can seem overwhelming and leave an otherwise highly organized person rattled. Whether you’re experiencing this personally or observing it in a co-worker or friend, the solution is to stop and unpack the mess, evaluate it, then resume work.
The idea of stopping during this whirl of activity may seem counterintuitive. But you need to unpack the jumble of demands and priorities that seemed so manageable not too long ago.
+ Make a list of all the things that have landed on your desk. Don’t analyze or critique; just create the list.
+ Immediately separate out anything you can delegate.
+ Quickly (again, not analytically) sort the remaining items into a rough list of priorities.
After you’ve done this, it’s time to evaluate the pieces. Think in terms of how the items impact various stakeholders. It may be that one or two items that you placed lower on your initial priority list should rank higher because of their impact on others. Again, what can you delegate? I’m confident that you have more to delegate, but are stubbornly holding on because “no one can do it as well as you can”. Delegate away!
After you have reprioritized the list, set deadlines for each item. Review one more time for realism, and then get back to work!
This exercise shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes and the outcome will create much higher clarity and renewed energy for you to dive back in and get it done.
By the way, if you see your staff struggling similarly, take 15 minutes and facilitate this exercise with them. You can do it as a group and suggest that people pair up with an accountability partner for ongoing support.
Have a great day!