There’s a cup of coffee sitting on the desk that has gone cold. It’s still early in the day, in fact, it’s so early that the office isn’t even at full capacity yet. The email inbox has more bolded “unread” messages than those that have been reviewed or deleted. The to-do list seems longer than it has the right to be, and that’s just the list with job related tasks. You’ve got a second mental list running that includes all your personal responsibilities. You grab the coffee cup and sigh as you walk it over to the microwave to be warmed up, again. The day has barely begun and you’re already overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
I have no idea why so many women take the weight of the world on their shoulders, but I do know that it’s time for you to put it down! One of the main causes of overwhelm in your life is the belief that you have to do everything on your own. While this may be true in some cases, it is not true in all cases.
Take a look at your current to-do list and ask yourself these four questions.
How many of these things do I actually need to complete myself?
On both your professional and personal to-do list, there are tasks that can truly only be done by you. Take a moment to identify what those tasks are. Be honest with yourself! Your absolute ownership on tasks truly only applies to some of what you’ve queued up to do.
Who can I call upon to support me?
In answering the first question, you’ve also identified which tasks can be delegated. An equally important question is: To whom will you delegate them? Set your support team up for success by identifying who has the skills and motivation to get a particular task done.
Are there tasks I can automate or use a technology assist to complete?
Make technology work for you. From automated report generation to ordering your groceries online (and having them delivered!), technology can make your life a bit easier. If you’re not already familiar with the capabilities your programs and tools offer you, invest some time in learning how to automate tasks. In the long run, the “learn my tech” to-do item will pay off!
What’s a realistic time frame?
Yes, you’re busy. Even after you’ve delegated. Even after you’ve automated. Odds are you’ve got a task list that is more than any one human being can address in a single day. Guess what. You have more than one day! Prioritize your tasks and assign realistic deadlines to them.
Bonus tip: Change your language. Just saying the word ‘overwhelm’ can make me feel anxious and tired. I’m betting you're no different. Toss that word out and try something different. Don’t say, “I’m overwhelmed.” Instead try, “I have many things I want to do today.” This simple shift in language and tone can have a positive effect on your attitude and behavior. It’s not a magic wand that completes your list of responsibilities. It is, however, an empowering mindset that sets you on a better path to conquer that list!