Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Chaos & Busyness

Chaos & busyness are some of the worst pirates. They just climb on deck and seem to throw the whole crew into panic.

Does that feel like your life sometimes?

Me too. The hard part of being boarded by these pirates is that they sneak up on a woman. You just don't even realize they've boarded your ship until you're grabbed from behind.

I had a lovely chat today with another woman on this very topic.

We determined a few possibilities to help manage the stress.

When life starts to feel overwhelming, ask yourself what really needs to get done that day. You're not asking, "what can I get done on every project on my to-do list?" No. You are looking at the amount of time available and then assessing the highest importance to the real needs. Now dedicate the available time to meet those real needs.

When there are more real needs than time in the day, sit down with your calendar. Block out the time each day to systematically work on each issue or project.

What if that's not enough?

Then you have the most amazing tool. The ability to ask for help.

Take the time to determine what you can delegate. What would ease up the pressure in your chest if someone else could do it for you? Is it the actual project? Are you really that important?

If the answer is no, find someone else to help with it. Impress on them your need, not just a yes or no question. Say something like, "I really need your help. I've realized I can't do this alone. Would you be willing to help me ______?"

If the answer is yes, you're not out of options. Just pick something else on your list to delegate. If you have to run a meeting or write a specific report, ask a family member to take over dinner or kid activity transportation until you can finish the necessary task.

One of the best decisions I ever made was rotating driving duties. I used to spend from 3p.m. to 9p.m. in the car shutting kids to activities. When you have 6 kids with only 1 or 2 activities per child, that's still too much for anyone. I'd gotten used to eating in the car and the kids all did too. That's ridiculous. But it had built over time. I was like the frog put in cold water. The heat turned up and I never noticed until one day, I looked back at several years of 6 hour car sessions.

I decided to get creative. When my oldest earned his driver's license, one of his chores was to help shuttle his siblings to activities. As each successive child needed to get to an activity or work, the rules were that in order to go out and play, the kiddo who had to work had top car priority. All those needing a ride had to work out the schedule with those needing to get to work. Our teens became adept at scheduling their own activities and taking into consideration other people's work schedules.

That's one of my examples of how to creatively delegate and relieve stress from chaos & busyness.

What are some of yours?

If you haven't begun to de-stress through delegating, did you get any ideas from this post that will help you start?

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