You've go deadlines looming, events approaching, and new opportunities popping up at every corner. Can a crisis or two be far behind?
When you're buried in work it can be hard to see a way out. Here are 4 shovels you can use to dig yourself out of overload:
What can you get off your plate by delegating it to someone else? Think not only about the big projects that are taking up most of your time, but of the smaller routine maintenance tasks that eat away around the edges of your day.
What can you put off by a week, a month, or a quarter? Here is where you need to test some assumptions. Just because you've been proceeding on the notion that you need to launch the rebranding effort in 2013 doesn't mean it has to be so. Could it be launched in early 2014? Can this week's brainstorming session be put off until next month, when 8 out of 10 deadlines have passed?
Delay is the less-proactive version of defer. When you delay, you say (to yourself) -- I will get to this, but I will do it on my timeframe because I've got more pressing matters to deal with. You say (to others) -- I am happy to help with this, and I will get back to you next week. Delaying is an effective tactic for dealing with demanding external partners who want things from you that aren't central to your primary work. You don't have to be a jerk about it -- but you also don't have to stop what you're doing to attend to other people's requests.
What can you get rid of all together? Look: you only have so many hours in the day, so many team members on your staff, so much funding and so much work you can do before your personal relationships, sleep and morale begin to suffer. What is off-mission, a time suck, not worth the time it takes do? Who would you need to engage in conversation to be able to let go of one or more projects on your plate?
Your 4 shovels:
And don't forget to breathe.
What are your tried-and-true methods for negotiating a heavy volume of work? How do you dig out?