Hello SOTGC Community,
Recent studies have painted a gray picture of the American working world: longer days, moving through constant change, and less vacation time. Those lucky enough to have a job can expect to be asked to do more with less coworkers, time, and resources.
There’s no doubt we are all feeling overwhelmed, overworked, stressed, and exhausted. How is that different for women than men? Is it possible to have a less harried life? The pressures to spend so much time at the workplace, living up to crazy ideas of what it means to be a modern working woman is affecting all of us. Work will dominate our life if you let it. So what do you do? Let’s breakthrough being overwhelmed!
You’ve heard the phrase work smart not hard. It took me a long time to learn this lesson and I’m still learning it. I used to try to do everything myself but that’s not possible anymore. There’s too much demand on all our time whether it’s work or within our personal lives – everything requires our attention and requires it now.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received is to make a no list versus a to do list. In this age of being connected to everything and everyone –the only way to stay sane is to know what to say no to and when. That’s not easy for women because we love to do it all – we are good at many things. Plus we want to be everything for everyone and people are happy to let us do that.
Believe it or not, no lists are often more effective than to-do lists, especially if you want to upgrade your performance and results. The reason why? Simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do!
Let me help you get the no list started:
Prioritize: If you don’t prioritize everything seems urgent and important. The answer is not to do more—it’s defining the few things can really fundamentally change your life and business. In fact Brendan Burchard, American trainer, public speaker and author says what you should be focusing on is the three most important things you need to accomplish that day. Important is defined by the productivity/results that will have the most impact for your customers and your long-term goals.
Do not agree to calls or meetings without a clear agenda. I adopted this habit many years ago when I was invited to numerous meetings where I didn’t understand my role or what we were together to accomplish. If you’re in a culture of numerous meetings or calls, ensure they provide a clear agenda, understand your role – because when you do you’ll determine if your presence will bring value or if you can provide needed information outside of the meeting.
Do not spend more time focusing on the problem than the solution. When I’m in problem solving mode with others, we all like to ramble and hash out the problem, more than focus on the solution. Time is valuable – identify the problem but then transition quickly for how to resolve it. This will save your time and energy.
My 2nd piece of advice to have a less overwhelming life is about renewal. I went to a summit this year and heard a Fortune 500 leader say that the secret to his success was to take care of his health. He started eating right, and exercising in order to keep up with the demands of his job. If you can’t start a “no” list and don’t know where to turn when overwhelmed – focus on your physical health. Exercising, eating right, getting your sleep will help you deal with all that life brings you. Don’t be afraid to take your vacations. It’s important to find time to renew your spirit.
The third way to have a less overwhelmed life is some great advice from Peter Senge – an American systems scientist who is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the Society for Organizational Learning. He stated that humans are wired to conform and asked the question how do we live and work in a sane way when you’re in the middle of insanity. His advice: create your own community––a network of like-minded people who carry the same values and ethics as you do around work, life and family. Find a group that fits your values that would make you happier to conform to.
Writing a “No” list, focusing on your physical health and creating a community of like-minded people who support your values for reducing your overwhelmed life might sound like a lot. Pick one thing to apply to your life – one thing that will start to give you hope that you can gain control back over your life – for me what has helped is focusing on my physical health. I started drinking water again to the point I feel vibrant and not so tired. If for you – it’s taking a walk, or shutting down that cell phone after 7:00 p.m. – do it. The common denominator in my life and everything I experience is me. I can make a difference in my life and so can you!
What is one thing you can start today that will take you out of feeling overwhelmed? Tweet me and share that idea: https://twitter.com/findyouraim.
Here’s to your success! Dorothy