Photo by Nigelhowe

Last week a client said to me “If I thought about all that I need to think about, my head would explode!” And, over the next few days I heard similar (not so explosive) statements from other clients. Funny how being a consultant seems a bit easier than corporate life these days.

If your head threatens to explode with the weight of all the important and unimportant, work and personal “stuff,” try one or more of these four strategies and take an aspirin.

  1. Get clear on your reality. Get a large piece of paper and section it into nine boxes. Label the boxes with different categories (e.g., projects X, admin, people management, business review, house, children, spouse,etc.). You may even need both sides of the big paper with 18 boxes. Now, write EVERYTHING down that you have to think about or do.
  2. Slice and dice the list. Go back with three highlighters and mark each item either: critical, important, not important (but has to be done), or never going to happen. Be generous with the last one.
  3. Answer the question “How am I colluding with the explosion?” Do you ever say no? Are you regularly putting new ideas onto your plate? Do you ignore that internal signal that you are getting ready to jump into the abyss?
  4. Tackle your calendar. Be real about which meetings you must attend for the good of the results or political presence. All others are optional–get at least 3-5 off your calendar now! Then schedule in the time you actually need to think and work, not to mention time for you to be you.

Make yourself at least as important as the work!