How to Rise Above Overworked and Overwhelmed
How can you overcome things that prevent you from being at your best?
“There are simple, relatively easy steps you can take to pull your life from the brink. I’m confident that working harder isn’t one of them.” Scott Eblin
This post is based on Scott Eblin’s new book, “Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative.”
Mindfulness is the alternative to overworked and overwhelmed.
Mindfulness is doing simple things that make us more aware of what’s going on around us and inside us and then being intentional about what we’re going to do – or not do – next.
2 Reasons You’re overworked and overwhelmed:
Too much of a good thing. Over-used strengths make you weak. Figure out how to leverage the strengths of others.
Playing against your strengths. Working too hard to be good at things you’re just not wired to be good at hinder your best.
Intentionally manage your time so you have a fighting chance of showing up at your best.
10 tips for managing your time with mindfulness:
- Overcoming the tyranny of the present. Pick up your head and look into the future.
- Ask, “Is this really even necessary?”
- Push your calendar reset button.
- What’s most important to get done today?
- Recognize the things that still have to be done.
- Schedule distractions to a future time.
- Understand and set your operating schedule.
- Schedule the most important rocks first.
- Give yourself time for unconscious thought.
- Set boundaries and guidelines.
- Use yes and no strategically. Avoid a mindless yes.
- Tame the distraction dragon.
- Consider your impact. People are taking their cues from you.
The good news is that even a few moments of routines like breathing deeply from your belly, getting up from your desk to stretch for a few minutes or taking ten minutes to go for a walk can activate your rest and digest response and get you out of the chronic state of fight or flight that creates stormy weather for you and your team.
Scott on the power of movment (2:05):
Scott on the power of reflection (1:37)
Which time management tips work best for you?
How are you practicing mindfulness?
Because they can’t let go! Old style leadership …
Letting go is challenging, especially when we connect our identity with work.
Time management #5 most important first works well for me, moves right into #4 once we can prioritize events, the others fall into place, 99% of the time! Remember to expect the unexpected because they just have a way of showing up at various inopportune times, takes you to #3 calender reset button or #2 Is this really even necessary to reset! We all know the world is not perfect, so plan your best and move in the direction things need to go. #6 rewarding yourself with time for unconscious thought is crucial as well clear the mind.
Thanks Tim. I enjoy your approach and insights to these ideas!
The two main pieces of advice I give for time mgmt (and that I’m still not perfect at but getting better every day):
1. Don’t live in your inbox. Turn off all notifications and just establish a limited # of times a day you look at it and ONLY spend 2 min or less per email. Otherwise it should be delegated or put on a to-do list. Check out this talk Merlin Mann gave at Google about Inbox Zero (funny, engaging, and HIGHLY useful): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9UjeTMb3Yk
2. Force yourself to take at least a few minutes at the start of the day to assess what the top 3 or 4 things are that you need to get done and schedule them first. I don’t mean you have to DO them first. Just schedule them first. Many people get rolling better if they start with small simple things first, which is fine, just make sure you are working towards that bigger, scarier thing that you are afraid to fail at.
Thanks James. I enjoy your practical suggestions. Addiction to email and cell phones seems to be a growing problem. Wearable devices are next. Then we can never escape.
Oh, and I forgot to mention Dan, I’m still really digging these audio enhanced blogs. Both clips were WELL worth the few mins they took up. Please keep doing these. I made sure to queue up reposting this to LinkedIn as well as Twitter.
I suspect a great many people are simultaneously overwhelmed and UNDERwhelmed.
They’re overwhelmed, drowning in the sheer volume of things they have to do, with no one to delegate them to, or aren’t permitted to delegate things they ought to be able to. At the same time they are struggling with the fact that they aren’t getting the feelings of doing something important/significant/useful, finding what they do underwhelming. That’s the perfect storm.
Thanks Mitch. It fascinating that we can feel two things at once.
Well said Mitch, I concur.
Completely agree. Both managers and employees seem unable to filter what they really should be doing from the onslaught of tasks that they could be doing. Our obsession with “productivity” without focus condemns us to check boxes without having real accomplishments.
Liked the post.
Working on a day’s priorities with Diary Management is the best way to maximize the available time. There is no need of stretching hard if the day’s tasks are completed efficiently. Don’t follow an open door policy if you would not like to get distracted. Avoid unofficial calls and spend less timing on meetings.
Thanks Dr. Asher. Great suggestions for time management.
I usually tell people, “fight through the crazy – just get through it, but make a note of every thing that hinders you, or is difficult to perform. Then after you get through it once, come up with suggestions to improve or eliminate the things that were inefficient. I find that’s a good way to get people recognition and promotions.
Thanks Billgncs. I lie the idea of learning as you go. Evaluating after the fact and adapting for the next time. We should do more of this. It all starts with an open attitude as we push through.
I love the practice of mindfulness! It has benefits in all parts of our life. In connection with mindfulness is what I am reading, watching and listening to right on what Tony Schwartz is talking about. His thought on managing time is dont try to manage it but manage your energy. This means getting enough sleep, eating better and being mindful of how you feel. I’m guilty too of working too many hours in a day without breaks, eating foods that deplete my energy, not exercising because I am too worn out and sleeping too little because I have too little time at night to do things I enjoy. It’s a horrible cycle that has caused me health problems to say the least but I am becoming more and more mindful of what I am doing now. It only makes sense to look things this way.
Thanks Shane. I’m glad you shared your story. The most important thing to manage is energy, yours and theirs. Cheers
People steal time, trying to pick your brain for information that you are willing to give freely especially co workers… It is my business not their’s.
Thanks islahad…. best wises.
I schedule time in my week for big picture projects. I’d like to say I do it well all the time but occasionally a ‘fire’ comes up that requires immediate attention. I found a mindfulness bell website that allows you to set a bell to sound every 30 to 60 minutes. When you hear the sound, you are supposed to stop for a moment and take some deep breaths. I find this helpful when I’m working on a long project or am having trouble focusing on the work at hand.
I appreciate your list both for ideas and reminders about how to maximize strengths, talents, and time so I can make an impact or facilitate the opportunity for someone else. Thanks, Dan!
Mindfulness is a concept that has been recycled in different contexts for some time, and it has it’s place everywhere. I’ve seen successful weight loss happen for people who are mindful when choosing food and putting anything to their lips. I’ve seen it work wonders in both personal and professional relationships as people are mindful of their own role in successful or unsuccessful communication. It has been the backbone of many meditation styles and in managing not only time, but finances as well. This is a great post, and the metaphor for placing big rocks first I smiled as I remembered a seminar I took at the police academy wherein the reference was that we all have so much to do in so little time that prioritizing is essential. Ranking the most important chores/duties as big rocks, fitting them in the finite bowl of the day first allows you to better fit the smaller rocks that are less crucial and the sand of menial obligations. Great post