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Managing the Chaos

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on July 17, 2014 1:30 AM

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If you are a human today chances are great that you have a very full plate. If you have a job and a family, you are likely desperately trying to keep all your plates on a tray without dropping any. In my opinion, this is why so many start-up businesses employees feel stressed to the point of non functionality. There’s no way to manage that kind of chaos in the way most of us try to manage.

Let me repeat that last sentence. There is NO WAY to manage that kind of chaos, especially not aloneYou cannot do it all, certainly not if you expect to grow a successful business.  If you find yourself working night and day and still feel that you are accomplishing nothing, you know you are in the ‘doing too much’ trap, and it’s time to stop, take stock, and try a new approach.

Start with taking honest stock of everything you are doing in your day. If you are like most of the entrepreneurs I work with, those projects were not chosen consciously. Take 10 minutes right now and make the following lists:

  • The projects I’m currently working on

  • The roles I’m handling in my life and business (parent, spouse, manager, thought leader, accountant, mail clerk…be honest and list them all)

  • All the things that are on your mind that you AREN’T getting to (unfinished business, creative pursuits, new product ideas)

Now, looking through the filter of your long term goals, evaluate the roles and projects and see which ones emerge as priorities. Which are the ones that if you paid full and consistent attention would make the biggest difference in your feelings of vitality, your relationships, and your financial success? 

Focus on one thing at a time

There is the tendency when we feel overwhelmed to multitask. We eat and drive. We check email and talk on the phone. When I’m really going for it I can be on a conference call, be checking email, cleaning my desk and scratching the dog with my foot.

But research in goal achievement shows us that such multitasking is nothing to be proud of. In fact, when we multitask, we are slowing down our reflexes and our brain function just like we would if we were drinking alcohol. It’s a common delusion that doing more than one thing at a time makes us more efficient.

Once you’ve decided on what your priorities are, you need to experiment with focusing on just one thing at a time. Try it for a week and see for yourself that you will actually achieve more and feel more energized.

How Will I Know When Enough is Enough?

But how will you get everything done that you need to do?

As the bible says, the lillies of the field neither toil nor spin. “Enough” is a decision, not a thing. If you are clear on your vision, have balanced your priorities to include health, relationships, inner work in addition to your business, and you are taking small, consistent actions each day, you are doing the best you can. Act AS IF you’ve done enough, acknowledge yourself, give yourself time to rest and rejuvenate, and watch your results expand.

Rory Cohen, MA, MPH, SCPC is an Executive Coach and VP for Coach Network Development with David Couper Consulting

Photo via Flickr

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