It happens to all of us: all the professional and personal projects and responsibilities build up, and we get overwhelmed. And if you’re not careful, feeling overwhelmed can lead to a kind of paralysis, causing you to waste time and make the situation even worse.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I follow a two-step system for getting things back on track.
Step One: Write It Down
First, I list everything I have to do. I actually make two lists – one for business responsibilities and one for personal responsibilities. And I get very specific, listing every little task. So, instead of just writing down, “Anderson Project”, I’ll write down something more like this:
- Anderson Project
- Review File
- Call Barbara at bank
- Letter to beneficiaries
It’s funny, but just making a list that breaks down the tasks I need to accomplish makes those tasks seem much more doable.
And this stuff is always doable – I’m convinced that we dramatize any problem, with our mind playing a kind of shell game with us, moving tasks around and repeating the same ones so that it seems like we have more to do than any mere mortal can accomplish.
Just getting all the to-do’s down on paper is a huge step toward getting things accomplished. But there’s still a second step in the system.
Step Two: Delegate
After I’ve listed everything that I need to accomplish, it’s time to delegate, delegate, delegate! Especially for your business list, you should rely heavily on your staff to get things done and make your life easier, not the other way around. After all, that’s why you hired them! And don’t just dole out assignments to your people. Have them design a game plan for accomplishing the task and report on how they’re going to keep you up to speed on their progress.
What should you delegate? The better question is, “What shouldn’t you delegate?” You know those tasks that light you up and inspire you? Those are the ones you keep for yourself. Everything else should be delegated.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124