Bust Out of Stuck 3 Steps That Keep you On Track
Author: Linda Feinholz
Is this you? You have customers to satisfy, professional goals to deliver on and your personal goals shoved to the back burner... and you and your friends, colleagues, clients and vendors are already talking about 'this' year. Decisions aren't getting made because too many of them feel like they're all the top priority... and you find yourself with a task list that is incomplete, messages unreturned, and lists growing longer.
"HELP ME STAY ON TRACK!"
I had a call from one of my clients this week. She was overwhelmed and anxious. And she was sitting at her desk getting nothing done. Her deadlines were looming and her team was clammering for her attention. As we spoke it became clear that her stress was triggered by her chewing on last year's results, her uncertainty of the results she's targeting, and her frustration over results that have slipped away. ALL at the same time! It probably sounds familiar?
The truth is, you will always be bombarded by more information, more ideas and more opportunity than you can follow through on - that's success!
I'll admit, I've had a few of those pauses that stretched to days with my foot jammed down on the break. I found myself sitting in overwhelm last month, as I was trying to get my newsletter launched, I got in the same old black magic state of overwhelm... and pulled out my 3-step process to bust out of being stalled.
If you cannot get a handle on the tug of war for your attention, your future is at risk!
I don't want you to spend even one more day sitting at that red light. So how do you get out of overwhelm and back on track? Here are 3 steps I use that are guaranteed to work for you personally, for your team, and for your organization:
1. List EVERYTHING That's Incomplete
Rather than trying to decide anything, sit down and make a list. That's all, just make a thorough, complete list. Scientists have shown that people cannot make decisions when their heart rate is over 90 beats per minute. So the first order of business is to get your heart rate down, and as you focus your attention on a task, your heart rate will drop. In this instance the task is making a list of every single thing that is incomplete. You can do this in writing or on your computer, in a program that will let you list each item on a separate line. The items may be on other lists, on Post-It notes, in your PDA, on scraps of paper on your desktop, on the bottom of meeting agendas, in your wallet. You might find them on phone messages you've "saved" in your voicemail, on receipts you put in your "in-basket" or pinned to your bulletin board. And don't forget to look on the white board!
2. Sort Them and Tag Them
Your next task is to sort out your list and identify the key reason each item is incomplete. The question you'll ask yourself is "What is the single most important reason this is incomplete?" Some quick and easy sorting criteria to use include: 1 - I don't have the information I need to make a decision 2 - I have the information but I don't like the form the decision will take 3 - I have the information and I like the form, but not the timing 4 - This conflicts with another item on the list Create YOUR list of criteria, and then tag each item on the list with ONE of those criteria. Once they are tagged regroup the list so that all the items that need further information are listed in a single group, and so on.
3. Prioritize Them and Act on the 1st One
Within each group, put a priority on the items in your list. This is another form of sorting, but this time it's within a group that already has a common characteristic. You'll want to use a new set of criteria for sorting this time. The criteria might be "easiest to get done" or "easiest to delegate" or "needs to be completed in order to do other things on this list." Set your criteria and sort away! Once you've sorted all the groups, select one group and the top item in that group and take action on just that one thing. Here's a hint - you might want to start with the "Delegate This" list if you created one. As you systematically turn those incomplete items over to others, they become a list of things you'll follow up on, rather than things you need to "Do!" and you'll have even more attention left for the things you've kept on your own list.
As you keep your attention focused, you'll retain control over your attention and find each item is dealt with much faster than you had anticipated. In turn, you'll find the sensation of overwhelm and being 'stuck' will be gone!
About the author: © 2007 Linda Feinholz Management expert, consultant, and coach Linda Feinholz is "Your High Payoff Catalyst" and publishes the free weekly newsletter The Spark! and delivers targeted solutions, practical skills and simple ways to boost professional and personal results. If you're ready to focus on your High Payoff activities, accelerate your results and have more fun, get your FREE tips at her site http://www.YourHighPayoffCatalyst.com
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