As you know, every week I put out a blog post with ways or be more efficient or productive so you can spend more time doing things you want to do. What if you’re too busy to even breathe let alone stop for a second to take control of your tasks? That’s how it was for me last week when my new, very large, project kicked off. I’m primarily a Project Manager as I grow my Executive Coaching business. And as a part-time Executive thinking back on last week, I really should have followed my own advice. These following three things would have made the week a lot more bearable if I had done them.
Stop to breathe
I was constantly being barraged with new e-mails and tasks added to a project punchlist. There were many times when I started an e-mail and didn’t finish it for an hour because I had gotten distracted by the next e-mail or an instant message or the following meeting. I just went from task to task, getting more overwhelmed with each item that got added to my list. If I had stopped to breathe, I would remember that I can handle anything and not let every new thing just add to my stress. Stopping to breathe really does help clear my head and bring my focus back on the control I have over my situation. It’s very effective when I’m feeling like life is just being thrown at me.
Review my tasks at least one a day
I would add item after item to my to-do list. Even though I was slowly crossing things off of my list, you would never know it. Because I didn’t review my tasks that were added the previous day (or even earlier that day), I had a really hard time figuring out how to prioritize what I had to do. Normally I review my task list every morning and write down the 2-5 most important things to get done that day. Last week I skipped that step because I didn’t think I could afford the 5 minutes it took to review my list and prioritize it. Looking back, that would have saved me a lot more than 5 minutes of sitting there trying to figure out what the next important task to get done was.
It’s difficult to keep my priorities straight when I keep getting new tasks added to my plate. Even taking 2 minutes every hour or every other hour to review my plan for the day and the new things I have to do could have saved me a lot of headaches and frustration.
Give myself permission to relax
This is something that I, and a lot of Executives I know, have a hard time with. I’m working full time and trying to start up my business on the side. When do I have time to relax?!? I worry that if I’m not thinking about what I have to do at all times, then I’ll forget to do something and somehow fail or let someone down. And yet I also know that if I don’t give myself time to rejuvenate, I don’t function and process things nearly as well, making everything more difficult. Most of the time I’m pretty good at giving myself permission to relax, but last week I didn’t and it only made things worse. Next time, I’ll remember that if I want to be at my best, I need to let work go for awhile. And for me, making sure everything is written down helps with that so I don’t have to worry about forgetting it.
It’s amazing how just 3 small actions could have changed my entire week. I’m going to print these out and put them on my desk so the next time a hellish week comes by, I’m better prepared. I would love to hear your comments on this. Please post them here on my blog and/or on my social media pages.