How do you manage unexpected circumstances or chaos without letting it all overwhelm you?
Things can move so quickly within an organization. And as leaders, it’s easy for us to take on more than we can manage. Maybe you’re in the middle of a big change within your organization, or you’re working on becoming more agile when it comes to the unexpected.
Regardless of your situation, how do you make sure the “overwhelm” doesn’t overcome you?
Here are four tips that help me and hopefully help you too:
1. You have to slow down.
First off, don’t let someone else’s lack of preparation become your personal crisis. It’s important to fight fires where necessary, but don’t let someone else’s overwhelm take over your life too. Second, evaluate the amount of things you have on your plate. Is it a healthy amount? If it’s not a healthy amount, is this just a busy season or is it becoming a regular part of your life? See if you can delegate responsibilities in a healthy, more balanced way.
2. Keep a time budget.
How much time do you have allotted for the important things in your life? Like monetary budgeting, having a clear budget for your time allows more flexibility when the unexpected happens. Where do you spend most of your time throughout the week? Does it align with your top priorities? If not, it might be time to rearrange — saying no more, using better time management, etc.
3. You don’t need to make a decision right now.
Very few decisions have to be made right this second. Somewhere in between right now and never is the norm. Or in other words, don’t wait for things to be perfect, but it’s important to set boundaries on your time and attention.
4. Resist the temptation to be a fixer.
You don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. Be conscientious and help out where you can/where you’re needed. But fight against your urge to be a constant fixer.
But don’t just take my word for it. A Forbes article gives some excellent tips on how to avoid feeling overwhelmed. See if any of them could work for your life:
- “For the next few days, before you do anything, ask yourself: Am I the only person who can do this? Should I be the only person who can do this? If the answer to either question is no, don’t do it … and if the first answer is yes but the second answer is no — hire or train someone to do that task, and then delegate it to them.”
- “Think about the things you do regularly that feel like a waste of time … Ask yourself: Does this really need to get done? What would happen if I didn’t do it?”
- “Find time to think … No matter how slammed you are, if you carve out some time — even 15 minutes a day — to step back from the fray and look at your life and work from a distance, it will help you use the rest of your time much more effectively.”
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