Fighting the overwhelm
Ah February…the month where our resolutions have (mostly) gone out of the window, we’re staring into the time abyss of all the commitments we’ve made, and if you happen to live in the northern hemisphere, the nights are still long and the weather is grey. Joy.
Statistically the least engaged month for employees globally, in no small part down to the “February Blues”, this is the month where we all need to take back control if we’re to set ourselves up for success. As individuals, as colleagues, as leaders and as spouses/parents/friends/good humans.
We’ve returned to work, all our clothes are a little tighter, the credit card bills are bigger, and we’re defining our objectives for the year. It all feels a little overwhelming. So what to do? Prioritise. You.
Looking out for number one
We’ve all heard the oxygen mask analogy a million times, so I won’t repeat it here, but I will reinforce the point that if you’re not putting yourself first you can’t show up for anyone or anything else at your best. Invest in your own energy and purpose first and foremost, and watch everything else fall into place.
Regardless of whether you’re making your way through life solo, heading a family unit, or leading thousands of people, you’ll be more energised, focussed and inspiring if you prioritise yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s a pre-requisite for awesomeness.
“Easier said than done” I hear you say…well as always here’s a step by step guide on how you can experiment with prioritising you:
Step One: identify where your energy is currently going – are you doing busywork or taking care of actual business? Which activities give you energy and which drain you? Who are you investing your time in? Rank the activities on a scale of 0 = “all about someone else” to 5 = “totally team me”.
Step Two: next we’re going to assess how much time is going into you – your development, your aspirations, your rest? List out what you’d like to be doing, what would feel like progress over the next few weeks. Assuming all of these would be a 4 or 5 on the scale above, think instead about how much time is being invested into these currently.
Step Three: spin it on its head – even if it’s just an experiment for this month. If something’s a 0 on your first list, drop it*. See what happens. Invest that time into something on your second list. There’s bound to be some friction, but that’s ok, friction is a symptom of growth. See how you feel at the end of the month. Were you more engaged, more energised, a little less resentful?
Side Step: finally, I know a lot of readers are compulsive to do listers who will have had a visceral reaction to “drop it” (you know who you are). A harsh truth for you – if your to do list is never ending, it’s time to detox. Either pick one thing a day to get done, or start a to don’t list. No more war and peace to dos. They’re not helping you stay in control, they’re controlling you.
Tim Ferriss is quoted as saying “lack of time is actually a lack of priorities”. Last month we talked about how little time we actually have. Prioritise you, the harsh truth is no-one else will. If you want to be a better version of yourself, you have to invest. Time, energy, discipline. Go do it.
Life is short. Until next time take care, stay safe and be kind
*not if it’s a child, please don’t drop children, especially physically…
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