Help, I’m overwhelmed!

Panic & overwhelm!

There’s often an unspoken rule in the modern corporate world that staff should be continually busy and buzzing with activity, in turn leading managers to become overloaded with innumerable responsibilities.

In many cases, it should be said, people seem to rather like it; telling people how busy we are has become a veritable badge of honour for some:

‘I’ve got a very important project deadline looming. John has handed in his notice, Jan is off on maternity leave, I’ve worked the last 5 weekends in a row, and I’m just so darned BUSY!’.

But does it have to be this way?

Well, not necessarily.

Not if you focus on what really makes a big difference.

Focus on outputs, not inputs

Most managers today report that their days are hectic, exhausting, stressful.

If this sounds familiar, it may be because you attribute an equivalent importance to all tasks at hand. I know a bit about this as I’ve done the same thing myself often enough.

And with the growth & growth of electronic communication and social media, the potential for being overwhelmed is only increasing.

Interestingly, managers may even become slightly addicted to the feelings generated by frenzied activity, sustained by the pressure and adrenaline rush of being endlessly behind.

There is a solution, that being to focus on the vital few assignments that must be done, while spending less time worrying about the countless dozens of trivial tasks (hat-tip to management consultant guru Richard Koch, who has done so much to promote the value of the famous 80/20 or Pareto principle).

Better time management (don’t @ me)

With that in mind, listed herewith are 3 straightforward ways in which you can manage your time better:

(i) Think! – spend some time each morning critically considering and defining your core tasks, investigating the vital few decisions, planning ahead, and removing the trivial clutter;

(ii) Email amnesty – responding to all emails, texts, phone calls, and other direct communication in a timely manner might deliver a gratifying sense of being productive, but doing so is only likely to spawn ever more notifications.

Experiment with choosing one or two dedicated times of the day for dealing with electronic messages; and

(iii) Redistribute – placing a value on your time and saying ‘no’ more often could be the simplest way to become a better time manager.

Delegate or outsource the less important stuff, so you can focus on what really matters.

In the words of management consultant and great educator Peter F. Drucker:

‘Until we can manage time, we can manage little else’.


Now we’ve got that sorted, don’t @ me… 🙂