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Overcoming Executive Overwhelm
October 15, 2019
Leaders deal with overwhelm on a daily basis, especially in today's fast-paced world. Between building a thriving business, managing a growing leadership team, dealing with the multitude of business decisions and issues that consistently arise, plus maintaining a life and family outside the office, it's difficult not to become overwhelmed. The pace is dizzying, and the solutions seem few and far between.
There are ways to avoid overwhelm from the beginning or to mitigate it once it starts. These practices may seem like common sense, but they are easy to overlook. Taking the time to put them in place makes an incredible difference.
1. Set Your Priority Clearly
The word "priority" is based on a Latin word that means "first" or "primary." Originally, the word was singular. Multiple priorities were not a concept that even existed. Somewhere along the way, we found ourselves mired in everything becoming "urgent."
Not everything is a priority, nor should it be.
When you shift your mindset to recognize the priority - the purpose - of your business or any commitment, things fall into place. Business will thrive, team dynamics will run smoothly, and your work-life balance will become manageable.
For example, I had a client put this to use recently with great results. In addition to focusing his team on a few key clients, he also declared that he was fostering a "learning and celebratory" culture. More conversations arose from this intention that lead to discovering new ideas from mistakes. People also made it a priority to boost each other's morale. Company profits went up double digits and the client said that many people expressed that they enjoyed working there!
On a day-to-day practical level, imagine what it would be like if at any moment you simply asked yourself, "What's the one singular best priority I can work on now, attend to next, or complete today?" What if you trusted your instincts to focus on one goal at a time? This approach takes practice but saves a lot of angst and time wasted in "trying" to manage multiple priorities. Go for it.
2. Delegate More Effectively
No matter how strong your team is, they cannot work effectively to reach goals unless you allow them to do so. You know this to be true, yet there are areas where you can develop greater trust, communication skills and confidence in delegating.
Delegating is not dumping; it is an art form and a vital form of mentoring. There are multiple facets and benefits of continuously mastering the art of delegating - perhaps the most valuable of which is leadership development.
- Delegation is a time management tool that moves more tasks and projects toward completion and thereby help you overcome executive overwhelm.
- Delegating effectively empowers your team to use their strengths and ideas to serve your clients and customers and increase your market share while allowing your team members to be challenged and grow.
- Delegating allows you to step away from the details, which will keep you out of the weeds, and manage the larger picture of culture, strategy, and innovation.
- Most importantly, by modelling delegating with wisdom and patience, you develop other leaders to be leaders who develop other leaders, which when replicated is critical in scaling and growing a business.
In the end, effective delegation takes constant practice, review and refinement but serves everyone! Go for it. Delegate more!
3. Brake, Break, and Breathe.
Although stepping away for a moment may seem counterproductive, it is one of the most efficient and effective ways to overcome executive overwhelm. In the daily routine of "go, go, go," each of us needs a break.
Taking time away from the frenzy is necessary, as it allows you to step back and put things in perspective. Studies show that taking breaks is critical to sustaining one's productivity, creativity (innovation) and therefore one's earning potential. Not taking breaks costs more than taking them. Breaks also allow you to keep your work, health, and personal life in balance.
Everyone does this in a different way. For some, it's a daily workout to increase energy and endorphins. For others, it means a few minutes alone in a quiet or comfortable place. Taking a walk, reading, doing a puzzle, and meditating are other ways to take a few minutes to reset.
I personally take a 10 minutes Sudoku break in the morning, a deep meditation after lunch and a short walk and snack in the late afternoon. It makes a world of difference in my ability to approach the work I'm doing with a fresh mind and I'm certain my productivity is higher as a result.
Go for it. Extend this reading break into a personal break.
One problem of overwhelm is it causes people to shut down. Meanwhile, as more demands piling up, overwhelm can spiral. The antidote is action, so that's why we said three times.
Go for it!
What's your next action?
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