There are times when I have felt overwhelmed by all the tasks and responsibilities I have to perform in order to keep an endeavor moving. I came across a strategy that helps me manage those days when I feel that way.
- Verify that your current tasks are consistent with what you are really seeking to accomplish long term.
- Map out the steps necessary in order to complete the current tasks and get closer to achieving that long-term goal.
- Identify the current problems, obstacles and needs to achieving your goal.
- Eliminate, attack and solve one problem, obstacle or need every day.
Take your eyes off the overwhelming picture for a bit and focus on just one of the things that has to get done. Take care of it, finish it, and be done with it. The next day, move on to the next thing. Within a month’s time, you will have noticed significant, measurable progress in removing the obstacles and impediments to your goal, and you will be able to see how much closer you are to achieving it.
It is far more important to be focused on attacking one specific thing at a time than to deal with five or six things at a time and never getting any one of them completely done. For example, when I’ve been out of the office for a length of time, I come back to an email box that is overflowing, a large accumulation of mail, and files that require my prompt attention. I prioritize these items like this:
- What are the things I need to get done in order to keep my team productive? Those are the things I do first so they can continue to move forward.
- Next I deal with the things that are time critical.
- Once those things are done, I tackle the more complex tasks that require one or more hours of uninterrupted thought and time.
By tackling the tasks in this manner, I’m able to get clarity on the situation and feel like I’m back in control.
As you solve the various problems, keep track of them. Have a list of your victories so that when those overwhelming days come (as they occasionally do for all of us) and you feel like you can’t achieve your objectives, you can look at the list of things you’ve accomplished – not just worked on, but completed – and remind yourself that it’s just a matter of adding to that list.