I titled this post what is on your plate today but I should add what do you do when you have too much to do as a subtitle here.
And here is why: I’ve just finished an article about the benefits of coaching and consulting for individuals and
for businesses or organizations. I’ve done another article about stress as well, and another one about mindset. I’ve done a lot more things for my business in-between what I’m still working on. There are changes to be made on the layout, on the appearance, move the Legal Terms pages to another place, work on my next ebook – and so on. You see, there is a lot going on – even if you don’t see that on the website right away. 🙂
What I’d like us to talk about today is what happens when we have so much to accomplish that it seems impossible to get it done. I’m really curious to hear what is on your plate today. Do you have to face a similar situation? Do you have everything under control? Let me know about that, ok?
Truly, I think there is no right or wrong, ready-made or push-button solution. The most important questions
we should find answers to are where to start and what to get started with, right? And sometimes it’s really hard to find out which one is that one task we must start with to get everything else done as well. Here’s a short story to that:
I remember quite well when I was a coaching student and my coach talked about how to eat an elephant.
What?! Eat an elephant?! What’s that again?! No idea… By the way, I love elephants so I’ve never thought about eating them.
But let’s just think again. How big is an elephant? Biiig, right? How big is the pile of paper on your desk or
how heavy is the workload you have to manage on the computer? Biiig as well, right? So how do you do that, how do you manage all the work to get it done? How do you “eat” your very personal “elephant”? Do you see
the analogy now? Good. Let me ask you this again:
What is on your plate today?
Okay, I hear you. Too much on your plate. And what do you do to change it? Nothing? No way? Believe me,
there is a way. And you know that. What you don’t know yet is which step to take first to get it all done. That’s where our coaching program can help you a lot. But I’d like to show you a simple trick right here.
You see, it doesn’t really matter what is on your plate today or whether you have much to do if you know
where to start, what to do first and what are the steps to follow. What does make a difference though is this:
you must understand that you cannot do everything at once.
This quote sums up how to “eat an elephant”:
[quote]“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”[/quote] – Francis of Asisi –
You must learn to “eat your elephant” by taking one bit at a time, means you must start with one task, do what is necessary, and get it done. Then move to the next one. That’s where magic happens: you have only one task on your plate and you get it done easily. Then move on to the next task on your plate and get it done. Then move…
You cannot work on just one task at the time? I know what you mean. You do multitasking because you want to save time, right? But let me tell you this: multitasking is good and fun as long as you don’t overdo it. Overdoing it means you get more and more distracted and won’t get anything accomplished.
To get everything done, you must set yourself a timeframe and commit to having one task finished when the time is over. Here is how you can start doing that immediately: set a timer for 10 minutes and start working, always having in mind that you have only 10 minutes to spend on that task. When time is over stop and check the result. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much you’ve accomplished in only 10 minutes! Focus on one task and set a time limit – that’s the trick.
You don’t believe this works? That’s not the point. As long as you don’t take massive action and apply the trick you won’t know whether it works for you or not.
What happens if you go on with having too much on your plate?
Well, I think you know that as well. You get overwhelmed and frustrated and it’s very likely that you do what so many people have already done before you: quit. Don’t let frustration and overwhelm get hold of you. The next step might be burnout or even worse, depression.
Learn to “eat your elephant”, do what is necessary, one task at a time… And each time you check what is on your plate today think about these words: do the necessary, do what is possible – and you will do the impossible.