If you’ve ever wondered how you can possibly stay on top of everything, you my friend are not alone. The emails start stacking up, voicemails go unanswered and no matter how many hours you put in you just can’t get ahead. At one point or another, we’ve all experienced that overwhelming sensation that things are getting away from us.
And if I’m honest, this was me a few months back. Juggling all the things got too much and I realised I had to stop, recalibrate and get back in control. Here’s what I did get back, and stay on top of everything.
Stop trying to do it all & take stock
First things first if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop trying to do everything because it’s clearly not working.
Then, get honest with yourself and take stock.
Write down everything on your mental ‘to-do’ list in one place. Be sure to include all those niggling things that play on your mind late at night as well as those boring jobs you’ve been putting off. (Yes, you know the things I’m talking about like checking your insurance premium rate or refinancing your mortgage).
Be clear on what matters to you
There are endless things we can do and let’s be honest, we are often driven by other peoples expectations and desire, rather than our own.
But in order to stay on top of everything, you need to know what is matters to you. Be clear on your priorities and what your own agenda and goals are. Knowing this will be crucial to understand what is truly important (keep reading for more on this!)
Get familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix
Named after the 34th President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, this is a simple but powerful matrix. It supports productivity and will revolution your ‘to-do’ list.
Basically, every task you are faced with is allocated into one of four categories:
- Urgent and important – These are the things that matter to you and require your attention right now, so you should do immediately
- Important but not urgent – These are meaningful tasks that should be planned and scheduled to complete later
- Urgent but not important – These are the things that need to happen but don’t require your attention, so delegate to others. Don’t overthink this one, if it’s not important to you and your vision offload it ASAP
- Not urgent or important – These things keep you busy but accomplish nothing meaningful and therefore should be eliminated
Try applying this allocation to all the things on your ‘to-do’ list and watch it shrink before your eyes.
Commit to staying on top of everything
Staying on top of everything is not always easy but make the commitment to yourself that you’ll do it. Now that’s not to say you won’t get overwhelmed ever again, you are after all only human.
Instead, it means that when you’re feeling swamped, act fast. Stop and recalibrate rather than allowing things to spiral out of control. Don’t indulge in self-loathing because that will only keep you feeling stuck rather be willing to get help and support when it’s aligned with your greater purpose.
Be honest with what you want to achieve, know what’s important and steer your ship in that direction.
You’ve got this!
What are your tips for staying on top of things? Share in the comments below.