We all have 1440 minutes every day. Yet some people seem to achieve so much and others barely make a dent on their good intentions. And yet others seem to be incredibly busy achieving absolutely nothing, least of all a sense of achievement or fulfilment. There are many reasons this could be true and one way to think about it is to consider how you use your time according to how much you do of each of the following:
Spending time is doing things which are either nurturing to the soul or maintaining. They are necessary for balance and to keep you on track.
It is Ken Blanchard who said that feedback is the breakfast of champions. But it always seems so stressful. Whether you’re giving it or receiving it, few people are comfortable around it. It has got to the point where organisations are questioning the validity of appraisals and one company, GE, are calling feedback Insights so people feel less antsy about it. Why?
Managing your own stress, your performance and productivity is one thing. Managing these factors in others is something else. Trying to achieve results through others brings its own stresses to add to your already burgeoning collection. But we don’t need more stress, we need less.
Most people rely on others to a certain degree to get things done. Whether you manage a team who work directly for you, or outsource some of your work to others, they can all bring their challenges as well as their rewards.
Black and white thinking (also known as all or nothing thinking) can be really useful when you need a quick decision which has an absolute answer: something is right or wrong, good or bad. A decimal point in the wrong place can have a huge impact, even though the mistake itself is small. “I nearly got it right” won’t hack it with the bank manager. Someone coming at you with a knife? Bad, and a clear signal to cut and run – no time to wonder at their intentions. So, black and white thinking can be helpful.
But not often. What it doesn’t allow for are the shades of grey in between. It polarises thinking and is often a factor in
Whether overwhelm is a constant feature of your life or something which you experience from time to time, the following can help you overcome it.
These strategies came from working with a client of mine who was so overwhelmed that he was in danger of imploding. He was managing a team of people in the service industry and just felt bombarded by demands on his time from employees, customers, his bosses, suppliers, his email and he was a slave to his smartphone. He had become ineffective and irritable and, not only was he suffering from insomnia but he was also eating and drinking too much.
These are the strategies which bought his life back into balance which I hope will help you too:
Most people want each new year to be their best. But with much less stress. And more fun. And bigger results. If possible. So, is it really possible? If we accept that we can only control the controllable and take response-ability for our results in a focussed way, I would say a resounding ‘yes’. But too often we give our power away to outside forces. So, the following keys will help you take charge and make it happen:
Become clear on what you want to achieve (your vision and goals) and why. The why is your motivation which carries you through the tough times so it needs to be big enough to do that. It makes all the difference between achievement and enrichment – two concepts which are not mutually exclusive unless you make them so. Clarity enables you to say ‘no’ to those things which are not ‘on-purpose’ so it frees up more time for you to do what’s needed to fulfil your goals.
Clarity around how you are going to achieve it is next. When you break things down into your priorities, the next step is easier to take. And the one after that. And the one after that.
Burnout is that state you get to when you are so stressed and exhausted that you are no longer able to function. At it’s extreme level, you won’t even be able to work at all. You could argue that high performers and perfectionists are more at risk than most. Why? Because they power through and ignore signals that show they are at risk. The problem is that the more you power through, the more at risk you become until you shut down completely. Like your body has had enough and decides that if you are going to ignore its needs, it will just stop working so you can’t ignore it any more.
So, what are the warning signs? Everybody is different but the following are a few:
You could argue that most people want to achieve more success with less stress. Whether you feel your efforts are yet to be rewarded with results or your success has come at too high a price, there are factors which characterise those who have a positive success formula. Though of course it will vary from person to person, there are common themes:
The very first component for success is to have clarity of purpose, mission and goals and to keep these in sight. When you have this kind of clarity, all your efforts are focused in the right direction – so you spend much less time readjusting, backtracking and regretting.
I was interviewed for a leadership program on the subject of emotional intelligence this week. I call it your secret weapon because it is said to account for 80% of your success. You might be surprised to learn that intellect, though important too, actually only accounts for 20%. It is your ability to handle yourself which is what makes the biggest difference and this is what emotional intelligence is about. And the good news is that it helps you in your work and in your personal life too.
The downside of it is that you need to have it to know whether you have it!
There are four main elements to emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is also known):