Overwhelmed? Read this if you want to do it all, all at once!
By Lisa Seppala, True North Implementation
At times, I find myself overwhelmed by opportunities and pulled in many attractive directions. Each of these is on my master To-Do list and aligned with my purpose and goals. Sometimes I can’t get past ‘go’ because prioritizing is challenging. Other times I dive deeply into one activity and then want to stick with it until completion. Sticking with an activity at the expense of others is okay some of the time, but not all.
This experience has been a common occurrence throughout my life. Perhaps you can relate?
On the surface, being passionate about diverse interests and activities has a ‘renaissance man or woman’ sound. But, being pulled in several different directions, or trying to tackle several tasks in one day, can mean that it takes longer to complete everything. There’s a sweet spot to progressing toward multiple goals and getting some accomplishments under your belt. At times that ‘sweet spot’ is elusive.
A few years ago, I was inspired to re-think my approach when I read the book Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day) by Randi Zuckerberg. She recommends picking only three things to work on each day. So rather than work on five, eight, or ten of your goals daily, choose three on one day and a different three on the next, etc. Being mindful about where you’re spending your time, and planning to progress toward each of your goals over an extended period, will allow you to achieve success without becoming overwhelmed. Refreshing!
My adaptation of Ms. Zuckerberg’s approach is to plan my week out on Sundays. Typically, this means that I review my goals for the year and month, check my firm commitments, and schedule blocks of time to work on specific tasks, ensuring that I address every one of my long-term goals during the week. And, recognizing that I tend to rebel against anything too structured, even self-imposed, I plan for wiggle room. For example, if it’s unexpectedly sunny, and I can complete other work and life tasks later in the day, I will take time to work in the garden.
This approach is working well, and while I still have days when I do get overwhelmed by the opportunities around me, it helps me manage my time effectively and stay the course toward advancing and achieving my goals. I appreciate that my work and lifestyle allows me greater flexibility than others may have, but taking a similar approach with limited discretionary time can still make a difference.