We all know that we have too much to do. You don't need another lecture on getting a better handle on your lists, tasks and meetings.
The list to soooo long!
I get it. I feel that way too. I have training I want to develop for my audience. I have books I need to read to learn about certain concepts. I have clients to coach. I have training to prepare for. I also need to be doing the accounting, working on my social media marketing, blogging, etc. etc. etc.
There aren't enough hours in a day!
The problem is deciding what to drop.
We believe they are all important!
But you must narrow it down. Here's how...
That's right, there aren't enough hours to do it all! So how do you decide what to do?
You must mindfully decide.
1) Do if first thing
If you wait until other people start to impact your day, your hooped! It is so hard to come back, after you've stepped in. You know the feeling, I'll just take a bite of the chocolate bar. But before you know it there are only crumbs and you don't remember taking the second or third bite. The same is true in our days. My client said to me yesterday "I looked at the clock and it was already 2:00! Where did the day go?".
Decide 1st thing in the morning what your 3 key priorities are for that day.
You may do this while you are still at home. I suggest perhaps before you get out of your vehicle when you get to the office. Although, I had staff ready to talk some days before my door even opened. Standing in the parking lot having their morning smoke, they'd hove waiting for me to arrive. If that is true for you, you might find a time before that. Pull into an empty parking lot a few blocks away to gather your thoughts and your priorities.
3) Use your sixth sense
Simply write down the first 3 things that come up. Don't judge, evaluate or gage if that is really the right answer. Use your intuition. If you've done the mindful tip of taking two deep breaths first, your intuition will guide you with excellent accuracy.
3) Keep it simple
Don't go through your whole list and start to re-organize and re-evaluate every thing on it.
Stop, take a deep breath or two and let go of everything that happened before you got to this moment and everything that is going to happen after this moment.
Just be here.
Then ask yourself one question:
What are the top three things I must get done today?
Then make sure you do those 3 things, preferably before 11:00 am.
No if, and or buts about it!
Get more ideas of how to mindfully prioritize here
Go, go, go
I am preparing for training. I am volunteering in my community. I am working with clients. I am going to dance class. I am cleaning the floor. I am ...doing, doing doing ... but at some point, I have no idea what I am doing, because I am just going too fast.
I found myself there this week and realized something was amiss. Yup, I was in Survival Mode once again!
Do you find yourself in that mode? You are just simply doing what needs to be done without much thought. You are doing, that is, what ever shows up in font of you. Yet you really don't know if you should be doing it or not, because you don't have time to think about it.
If you are like me at this point, you just trying to get the piles off of your desk, get your inbox cleared to a manageable level and make sure no one says you forgot about them.
It reminds me of this video from I Love Lucy!
We become exhausted on this race to do it all.
I sure know that I was. In this way, we tend to believe that everything is important. I wasn't sure what I could drop. At some point I realized I had too much going on, but didn't know what to let go of.
Greg McKoewn suggests another way.
In his bookEssentialism; The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, McKowen suggests that rather than trying to do it all, we discern what is really important. It's been a good book for me to be reading this past few weeks.
Not everything is important despite what others would have you believe.
You might be doing it good, but are you doing it great?
When we do too much, we water everything down. Nothing is being done well. Everything is simply being done, and some of it not very good. As such, we are overwhelmed by the pressures around us. We feel out of control.
Are these things all really important?
Instead, if we pause to discern what it truly important. We can discipline ourselves to focus on what truly is vital.
The key is discipline
You need to become disciplined at slowing things down. It is vital that you take time to consider, ponder and discern was is really vital. In order to be doing a few things really well, rather than a bunch of things just ok, you need to take time.
Schedule time to look through your activities
Look back over your day timer for the last week. What could you have cut out?
Review your To Do List
Does everything really need to be done here? Could you delegate some? Eliminate others?
More importantly, take time to decide what is vital.
Be disciplined in your pursuit of your best work. Keep at it. Come back to it again and again.
What is really important?
The key to managing everything and enjoying life is figuring out what truly is important and working on that. We need to get disciplined
about figuring out was is the vital pieces we need to hang on to,
Greg suggests that we move from the undisciplined pursuit of more to
the disciplined pursuit of less.
Ask yourself this often
I am really doing the important work I should be doing - right now?
Do you get uncomfortable when you have to engage in small talk.
For example, when you are waiting for the meeting to start or when you are attending a lunch meeting and there is chit chat. Do you hide with your face in your cell phone or head to the washroom, even if you don't have to go?
I used to be like that too
I used to cringe thinking no one wanted to chat with me. I was afraid someone would ask me a question I couldn't answer. I always was fearful I would look stupid. When walking back from lunch, I'd try to make sure I was walking with someone "safe" so that I didn't get "caught".
What happened though, was the more I put myself out there, the more confident I got. You can do it too.
You don't have to avoid networking conversations.
There are ways to become more comfortable with those networking conversations. It does require a bit of work (not a lot though) and just stepping outside of your comfort zone a little bit.
Here are 4 tips to get you interacting more
1) Change what you are thinking
Change your inner dialogue. It will help you feel more confident. Instead of telling yourself it is uncomfortable and that you feel dumb, tell yourself that you can handle it.
When you change what is going on in your mind, your experience of it will change too
2) Change your body language
By changing your posture, not only do others see you as confident, YOU feel more confident. Stand up tall. Smile. Make eye contact.
3) Be prepared
Develop a relevant question or two that you can ask others. Be prepared to answer the most logical question that you might get asked. "What do you think about this...." When you are prepared, you don't stumble over your words. Instead you come across more engaging.
4) Do things that help build your confidence.
Join your local dance or theatre group. Try improve. Get involved with more interactive activities or programs such as Toastmasters, your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary club. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get.
Put yourself out there bit by bit. Practice in safer situations. Before you know it, you will forget you were supposed to be afraid.
Watch here for some more tips on how to increase your comfortability when networking.
Then share in the comments box below what you are doing to help build your confidence. I look forward to reading the different ideas.
The way I see it, when you're in a job that you hate, you have two choices:
1) Get out
2) Work your butt off to turn things positive despite how impossible that seems. And it probably does seem impossible. I get that.
Some work situations are remarkably nasty
Many people are in utterly difficult situations. Bullying, harassment, extreme negativity and caustic environments seem to be the norm for many. I have calls with clients who are working with someone who degrades them, plays head games on a regular basis or attacks their character. Other clients experience this lower level of constant adversity.
Don't get stuck in feeling trapped
If you are not consciously choosing to stay, you will feel trapped. You will feel stuck. And you will feel like a victim. When you shift it ever so slightly to dealing with what you have, you can also make some choices around how you deal with it.
When you choose to stay, make it a conscious choice
If you choose to stay and remember the word is choose, be clear that it is your choice. I know there are consequences to leaving. I totally get that. But be clear there are options. You are taking the "easier" route, the one that seems less challenging, perhaps. Or you are choosing the option that will, in your mind, takes better care of your other needs like family and finances. Whatever the reason is that you are choosing to stay, just get clear that you are choosing.
Your work environment won't change - You have to
If you want to have a different experience at work, then you have work to do. It's not going to change. And honestly, you're not going to change it. Your boss is who they are. The contractor is who they are. So are your co-workers. You don't have control over them.
Keep reading though...
What you can change is...
...the way you see other things. You can change the way you experience your job. You can change the way you respond to the things that happen in your job. In doing all of those things maybe, just maybe, the culture will change. And maybe it won't. But your experience of it will change dramatically!
This requires intense discipline from you to do that continuously. Otherwise, you will get sucked into the cesspool that is there.
Make a choice
Are you leaving or are you staying? If you're staying then, be prepared for the fight of your life. The lessons you learn and the impacts on the rest of your life might just make it worth it.
Get some help
This is extremely tough work, and you will need a team of heroes on your side.
Leaving or staying is a choice
Be conscious about your choice and work within that choice to change your experience.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.