01 Apr So Much To Do, So Little Time!
We recently received a phone call from one of our clients. She was frantic. She couldn’t get it all done. There were so many deadlines. There was so much to produce, and there was so little time. We had a conversation with her and within 10 minutes, she gave up feeling overwhelmed, had gotten back to work and by the end of the day informed us that all of the things that she thought were impossible to get done in time for the deadlines had been completed impeccably and in fact, she had even accomplished more than she dreamt was possible. So we figured we would share with our readers the basic principles and ideas that will support you in being productive and energized when you find yourself “being overwhelmed.”
When looking at how to be centered and productive in demanding circumstances, our three Principles of Instantaneous Transformation are a perfect framework to discover how to easily accomplish those tasks you are faced with.
Our first principle is: Anything you resist will persist and take longer. So, if there is something in the task in front of you that is either challenging or of a creative nature or you are uncertain how to accomplish it, then the resistance to that task will not allow you to complete it. More about this later.
The second principle is: No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. So, if you are complaining to yourself about having to do a project or task, then in that time that you are complaining about having to do it you cannot be doing the task. Again, no two things can occupy the same space at the same time and if you are complaining, that is what you are doing in that time frame.
When looking at life through the second principle, that no two things can occupy the same space at the same time, it becomes very apparent that you are only capable of doing what you are doing in any given moment. Therefore, if you feel overwhelmed, it is of no benefit to look at everything you have to do and try to figure out how to do it all. What is useful is to pick one item or specific task and do that to the best of your ability. What you will find is that by completing that task, you are energized to take on another piece of the project.
The third principle is: Anything you allow to be the way it is will complete itself or will take pressure off of you. In other words, anything that you allow to be the way it is will allow you to be. So how this applies to being “overwhelmed” is if you just do one piece of the project at a time and not resist the rest of the project that is left to be done, then the pressure of the rest of the project will not impose itself on you.
It has been our experience that if you choose the thing that you are most drawn to do, it is a good starting place. Do the thing that you want to do first. And when you complete that look at your tasks and find the piece that you want to do next and give up the conversation about whether or not you want to do it, at all. The time you spend in that conversation eats your productivity.
It is not about getting it over with. It is about doing complete work because when you do complete work you become energized and feel as if you are accomplishing something. When you are trying to get somewhere, i.e. the “end” of the project, you are locked in the first principle by resisting where you are. And anything you resist persists and takes longer. Here are some tips that our client found very useful in the process of getting her work done. First, we coached her to drop the conversation about whether or not it was possible to get it all done. Worrying about the outcome was simply eating her time and energy. It is akin to driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. It is not a smooth ride, you get lousy gas mileage and you burn out. Worrying is actually a way to stall or procrastinate rather than being productive.
Making an actual list of all the things that needed to be done took the tasks out of her mental computer and freed her up to devote all of her energy to the task at hand. The list let her relax so she wouldn’t need to worry about forgetting something.
Next, our friend had to be willing to suspend her judgments against herself that she was not already finished with her projects. This is another time-waster. You can either kick yourself for not having gotten things done sooner or you can get to work. Once she started working, she worked with consistency, not judging what piece of the project she was completing but simply completing one thing and then the next and then the next. People often lose a lot of time and energy wondering if it they are doing the “right” project when all of the tasks on the list are to be done. She had to trust herself that she wasn’t just doing the easy parts and then would take a break. She worked with consistency, completing a big or small task in the same rhythm and then moving on to the next thing without self-recrimination for not having it done sooner or without congratulating herself for what she was accomplishing. As a result the job was completed far sooner than she imagined was possible and at the end of the day she felt well and truly satisfied.