After the downtime of the festive break here are 5 self-leadership strategies to help be effective, less futile busy and to manage overwhelm this January.
Zero inbox policy – Staring at an ever growing email inbox is an unnecessary pressure. Start a fresh today by taking an hour clear that inbox down to zero. Use the 4 D process of – Do it (if it can be done in 5 mins), Delete it (be honest with yourself do you really need it), Defer it (create folders with purpose) and Delegate it (pass it on to someone who can get it done). Whilst you are at it have an unsubscribe detox and stop unwanted emails from clogging your inbox. Then set the zero inbox as a daily or at least weekly personal rule. Go on you can do it and you will feel better!
Manage your own expectations – Often we are worse enemy thinking we can do more than is possible in one working day or worse still believing everything needs to be done immediately. There are 24 hours in a day and if you’ve got your life priorities in check you are likely to be working 8-10 of those without feeling frustrated or disillusioned. So, get crystal clear on those priorities, be realistic of what can be done in one day and be realistic on how long things will actually take so you can plan and slash your daily to do list accordingly. It will empower you to say NO more often and very importantly you will be kinder to yourself when things slip into the next day.
80:20 rule – the reality is that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your to do list so be clear on what that 20% is (Paretos Principle). Work out exactly where you should be focusing your attention delegate, defer or dump from the to do list everything else.
Remember you can manage your attention not your time – Time will never change it’s fixed at 24 hours but how you use your time is in your control. Limit distractions – it’s not just email and social media, but consider your environment and the people around you. Take steps to stop interruptions and any ‘fear of missing out’ compulsions by being disciplined and set personal boundaries and rules.
Take breaks – Be honest with yourself – If you work non-stop for 8-10 hours grabbing coffees here and there, indulging on biscuits for energy and running for a grab and go lunch at 4pm which you eat at your desk, will you really be powering on all cylinders for all that time? Nope. Refreshing your attention span is imperative if you want to achieve optimum performance and get more done in a day. Schedule regular breaks – they don’t have to be long but long enough to rest your brain, your eyes and to enable you to avoid unproductive slumps. Don’t forget a proper pause and healthier lunch (refuel your mind and body!). The reality is you will get more done at a better standard if you stop now and then throughout the day.
Don’t forget you are in control of how you spend your time and no one else. This means you are in control if your overwhelm. So lead yourself to success every day through strategies such as those above and you will be more effective, productive and happier and will be able to stop overwhelm in its tracks.
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