006 Her Amazing Life: Overcoming Overload

It’s all about overcoming overload in this episode of the Her Amazing Life podcast. Following on from Episode 2: http://heramazinglife.com/002-her-amazing-life-how-to-plan-an-amazingly-purposeful-day/ we talk specifically about overload and some solutions to the problems that lead to feeling overwhelmed.

It’s important to recognise where you are at and ensure that your feelings of overwhelm are not racing towards BURNOUT.

Some of the tips we reveal this week are:

Things will always take longer than you think

The Planning Fallacy

The Planning Fallacy

Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky released a paper in 1979 in which they termed the phenomenon “The Planning Falacy”. The principle states that people and organisations have a tendency to underestimate how long they will need to complete a task, even when they have experience of similar tasks over-running.

Solution 1: Double the amount of time you estimate a task will take without enacting Parkinson’s Law

Solution 2: Comb through your To-Do list and work out which tasks you can (and should) delegate to people around you. Chances are these people will be for efficient and able to get the work done than you anyway!

A huge To-Do list which seems overwhelming

Solution:  Just do something: little, small, anything – just tick something off your burgeoning list as early in the day as possible. It’s all about momentum and will get the ball rolling for an amazingly purposeful day ahead.

So many distractions that it is impossible to stay focused long enough to get anything meaningful done

In short, everyone struggle with distractions. There are a number of common distractions that we all face, regardless of the type of work you do. These include phone calls and emails, text messages and social media. They also include unplanned client requests and unscheduled meetings. So whilst it is impossible for anyone to remain distraction-free 100% of the time, there are things we can do to minimise the impact distractions have on our lives and on our productivity.

Solution 1: Block out time to get your most important work done

When you have quiet time, take on your most challenging tasks and use your concentration to push them through to completion. We call it Hours of Power.

Solution 2: Understand what your biggest distractions are and make a plan to minimise

Steph has created this simple template for capturing and managing her biggest distraction – mobile phone calls.

Overcoming Overwhelm - Steph's Daily Phone Call List to understand, capture and manage her No. 1 distraction

Overcoming Overload – Steph’s Daily Phone Call List to understand, capture and manage her No. 1 distraction

Solution 3: Make sure your work area is neat, tidy and distraction free.

This will free up your mind to focus solely on the task at hand.

So much to do for so many people

Whilst we always want to help other people, sometimes the only way to overcome overload is to say no to particular requests. This will allow you to be the best you can be for the projects you have decided is the best fit for you personally and professionally. If you feel as though you are being pulled in many different directions and it’s making you feel overloaded and overwhelmed, saying “no” now can actually be the best solution to enable you to say “yes” to many great opportunities in the future.

Solution: Learn to politely say “No”

Always offer the person an alternative and explain briefly the reasons why you are not able to assist them on this particular occasion.

Feeling alone

It’s easy to think that you are the only one feeling overwhelmed. One of the quickest ways to get back on track is to talk with trusted people around you.

Solution: “A problem shared is a problem halved”. If you take the time to explain to someone you trust how you are feeling, and enlist their support, you are well on your way to overcoming overload. The right person will bring a fresh set of eyes to the situation, help you re-prioritise and refocus. You are likely to feel greater confidence that you can achieve the most important tasks.

Last Tip for overcoming overload: Regularly engage in activities that take you away from your work for a short time. You'll return refreshed and re-energised to get things done :)

Last Tip for overcoming overload: Regularly engage in activities that take you away from your work for a short time. You’ll return refreshed and re-energised to get things done :)

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