The Antidote for Gut-Wrench & Chaos

I can’t believe it.
It’s only mid-January and my end-of-year bliss has already given-way to that old familiar “too-much-to-do, too-little-time” gut ache.
Maybe it’s because I have an inventive mind that never really rests. 
Or maybe it’s because I took a couple of weeks off, and now I’m feeling the back-log.
In either case, today I could feel my stress level rising as an avalanche of the “un-done” bombarded my brain. I caught myself bouncing from task to task, opening documents and tabs and making lists. I was scattered. I felt like a ping pong ball!

Have you ever felt this way?
I don’t enjoy this state of mind, but it’s all too familiar.
This year, I’m committed to building better habits to manage stress.
Today, rather than just pushing through, I activated the 3Ps:
    •    Pause
    •    Prioritize
    •    Plan
These 3 powerful steps can make all the difference! Let me explain…
Chaotic thinking can become a habit. The first thing we must do is PAUSE and interrupt the pattern. Today I stepped outside, took a few deep breaths, and felt the cool breeze and mist on my face. Ahhhhh. It felt so good to STOP the spin, quiet my mind, and connect with the moment.
When you start to feel stress, give yourself permission to PAUSE.
There is only so much that any of us can do in a day. When we proactively prioritize, we take back our power. So I asked myself, “What’s really most important today?” I looked back at my January goals and I wrote down 3 things that HAD to happen (the urgent things), and 3 things that would help me make progress toward my strategic objectives (the IMPORTANT things).

Taking charge of your priorities is KEY for your career success! Don't wait for someone to do this for you. Try to do it yourself on (at least) a monthly and weekly basis.
When tasks are too big or ill-defined, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
    •    “Where should I start?”
    •    “How long will this take?”
    •    “Where are those notes?”

Once you have paused and prioritized, the next powerful action is to PLAN. Writing down the specific steps it will take to get anything done takes away the mystery and can help you make quick progress. Today I set my timer for 12 minutes and wrote action items for each of my priorities. At the end of that time, I felt infinitely more prepared to tackle the tasks ahead!

Making these lists can also help you have clear and direct conversations with your manager or colleagues about deadlines and work load. This powerful planning practice can help you understand your work load, set better boundaries and avoid stress before it even begins!
Today was a success!

Not only did I reclaim my calm, but I also did the good work of starting to rewire a habit.
Without the 3Ps, I may have let the chaos get the best of me and ended up wasting that 20 minutes scrolling through social media or wandering to the kitchen for a snack- neither of which would have helped me in any way.
But today? Today I did better. In just under 20 minutes, I paused, prioritized and planned, and turned feelings of stress and anxiety into powerful action.
What about you?
    •    Are you back in the saddle with too much work and too little time?
    •    Or are you taking charge of your time and your actions, and keeping chaos at bay?
    •    What new habits are you building this year?
    •    Where can you put the 3Ps to work?
Together, let's practice good habits that help us be our best in 2023! Cheers!

P.S. Speaking of good habits…as a leader, building a COACHING habit is one of the most proactive and powerful habits you can imagine. Coaching can transform your team and dramatically improve your experience of work! Learn how by joining me in my once-per-year class called Coaching for Excellence. Starts March 28th

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