The quality of your life and business are directly related to how well you manage all that is on your plate. Routinely, business owners take on so many projects and responsibilities that they become overwhelmed, confused and burned-out, eventually losing their way on the road to creating the happiness and success they desire.
“Plate management” is vital to your happiness and success, both personally and professionally. Without consciousness of what is already on your plate, and what you continue to put there as you move forward, you will eventually become bogged down under your overwhelming situation.
Here are specific steps you can take to improve your current reality:
Print: Write down everything on your to-do list. Most likely, the vast majority of this information is floating around in your head, which is only contributing to your feeling of confusion and being overwhelmed. It is wise to get the pieces of the puzzle, so to speak, down in front of you to see the totality of your situation. Whether you use a note pad, a white board, a spread sheet or another mechanism to clearly see what you have created, it is important to not forget the most valuable aspects of your personal life: quality time with family and friends, your interests and hobbies, activities you love, quiet time – time to reflect, study, learn and grow as a human being – and moments to simply relax and enjoy your life.
Prioritize: Next, go through your list and prioritize. Make note of how long each item has been on your to-do list. This will allow you to clearly see what you have put off and for how long. By identifying the importance of each task, you will be able to create a new to-do list with the most important items at the top and the least time sensitive items at the bottom. You will also be able to remove items that are no longer necessary to achieving your goals.
Post: Now that you have your new, revised, organized and crystal clear action list, post it where you can easily see it, and get to work on completing the most important tasks first. Once an item is accomplished, cross it off and move on to the next. While you may have several things operating simultaneously as you work toward the completion of individual items, it is crucial to maintain heightened consciousness to avoid getting lost again.
Position: With greater awareness of everything currently on your plate you will be positioned to consciously choose whether or not to add additional items. Sometimes, the strongest choice is to say “no” to others, situations and opportunities in order to say “yes” to yourself, your happiness and you own success. Simply put, be discerning about what to place on your plate.
Persist: This step is very important! Once you have gotten on top of your to-do list with effective “plate management,” it is critical to stay the course. The moment you catch yourself falling back into the old habits that resulted in unwelcome outcomes, stop yourself, shift your focus toward how great your new situation is, and return to the new habit that actually works.
As you continue to take focused action on your to-do list, important tasks that contribute to the success of your business will be completed. You will begin to feel engaged and accomplished, your list will shrink in size and you will be a happier, more balanced person.
In my coaching and consulting work with business leaders across the country, it is not uncommon to hear business owners and managers refer – often and with heaviness – to the length of their to-do list. The truth of the matter is that unless you make sense of it, and take control of your tasks – instead of letting them control you – your situation will not improve. It is easier than you think, and the benefits far outweigh the efforts required. It is a tremendous feeling to be in control of your own reality!
If you are struggling under a mountain of to-do’s, if your desk is a mess, if you are dropping the ball because you are overwhelmed and confused, if your happiness and success are leaving you, get the assistance you need to change your situation. Learning effective “plate management” will bring balance to your life, and set you on a new and rewarding course in life and business.