Help, I’m Drowning! Help me……

Are you picturing a horrifying situation as you stand on the shore and watch a person caught in a swirl, going round and round? Are you picturing a whole boat of people sinking on the Titanic as their terrified faces show in one glance all the emotion of slipping into black, icy-cold water with no help?

Good! Now that I have your attention, let’s talk! I hope you take the time to grab this small lifesaver!

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Are you hearing it too? There’s a common theme I am receiving from others everywhere – during coaching sessions, with friends in social settings, networking meetings and even social media and emails. We have all experienced a very difficult recession. Many organizations have reduced a lot of headcount and now the repercussions are slamming into people with crashing waves of frustration, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and even a bit desperate.

So, I am here to throw a small but durable lifesaver out to all of you reading this blog. No, it isn’t a powerful Coast Guard boat that will whisk you away from all your stress, but rather basic helpful reminders that may just help you to settle down, take a breath and see that you have some simple tools and ideas that can keep you from getting pulled under by the frightening undertow of multiple priorities.

Tips For Managing & Prioritizing Your Time – Simple but Helpful!

  • Assess how your time is being spent – You may want to track how long tasks are taking and how your day is being spent. Collect the data so you have information to use. Jot down tasks that you are doing that take an hour or more during a week. Once you have a good idea of “typical” days, you will see trends and issues.
  • Analyze where your time is going –Consider the following questions and how you may want to prioritize your time:
    • Are the activities in your log necessary for daily living, for your career, for your family, for your health or for your pleasure?
    • Do you have too many tasks for a regular day? What can you do about that? What is reasonable and what may need to be negotiated and moved off the list? Speak with data!
    • Can you delegate tasks or get help with tasks such as housekeeping, lawn care, paperwork, etc.?
    • What percentage of time did you spend in work-related activities versus family activities?
    • How much time did you take for yourself?
    • How much sleep are you getting?
    • What inspires and rejuvenates you? Did you spend enough time on those activities?
    • How much control or choice do you have about how you spend your time?
    • How do your activities line up with what you most value?
    • What is beyond your control? Have those obligations, such as childcare and elder care, changed over time?
  • Determine actions- What can you do? What can you change now? What can you change over time? Who can help you address what needs to be changed? Be realistic and do what works for your style, your personality and your values.
    • Set up specific actions with clear due dates to address the changes you want to create.
    • You may need to have an honest discussion with your manager – what is non-negotiable and what could be re-assigned or moved to a later date?
    • Schedule specific tasks on your calendar and block time that you focus on them.
    • Are you able to tackle more challenging tasks at your peak teams such as in the morning?
    • Are certain things causing regular interruptions to your schedule? Address them!
    • It takes practice and discipline, but it will become easier
  • Continue to monitor your time and how you are doing against your schedule. Where can you adjust?
  • Seek an accountability partner, coach or someone that helps you stay on task.

Procrastination – Can we talk about it later?

Kidding! I will admit it is a challenge for me, especially when I am working for myself. What can we procrastinators do? Here are a few simple things I’ve learned.

  • Figure out why you are procrastinating – Do you not know how to handle the task? Is it a really boring and mind-numbing task? Is it so big you don’t know where to start? Naming it can calm your brain down and help you get into a solution space to address it.
  • Break the task into smaller chunks and set a timer for 15 minutes Use a timer – literally! Set an alarm on your phone, or use an old-fashioned timer for 15 minutes and ensure you work on the task until it beeps. What I have found is once I get started (like when working out) I can keep going and it becomes less daunting. Try it! If necessary, keep setting the timer until you work for a solid length of time to finish the task.

Celebrate your progress! – Reward yourself for the progress you make. A natural by-product of your progress will be that you feel more energized, less overwhelmed and more balanced. The improvements you realize will result in ongoing improvements and it will become a positive cycle.

I wish you the best as you address your time challenges this month! Let me know if these reminders help you!


GREAT Article Below About Critical Skills:

These Soft Skills Can Go a Long Way
Talent Management, April 2013