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Can't Get It All Done?

If you feel like you're racing through your day trying to 'get it all done' - be careful. You might be doing more harm than good.

Can't Get It Done? Most of us have been conditioned to complete our tasks and meet deadlines, but if we are constantly struggling to keep up, something needs to change.

Unfortunately many executives believe they need to accomplish more, work more hours and put even more pressure on themselves to keep up with the demands of work. They end up burned out and exhausted. They beat themselves up or dread going to work. In many cases their frustration at work spills into their personal life.

For those sliding on the downward spiral, here are some things you can do to gain perspective and get back on track. Better yet, you can put yourself on a better track.

Steps to get back on track

  • Hit the pause button

    When you have been running too hard too fast, you need to stop and catch your breath. Break your routine in some way. This alone will give you a jolt and help you approach your work in a fresh way. If that doesn't work, you can go to the next item.
  • Hit the reset button

    You can reprogram your thinking. You should pay attention to the beliefs and assumptions you're making about why you're doing what you're doing. You can think of different beliefs that could be more empowering for you.

New beliefs

  • Original belief - Everything must get done today

    New belief
    - Only what is most important should be done today
  • Original belief - To get as much done as possible

    New belief
    - The aim should be to create an end product of the highest value
  • Original belief - You fail if everyone's expectations are not met

    New belief -
    You should be guided by your own definition of success.

Grab a pen and take three minutes. Write down some of your own beliefs about your work that come to mind. No editing. Just write. Seeing your beliefs in writing makes them more real. When you're done, see if any insights or surprises came up for you. Get the picture? What you believe is what will drive your actions.

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right”. Sometimes simply switching one belief can make a big difference. Before someone resorts to some kind of time management course, they should look at some of the real reasons that could be causing the issue.

Reasons that could send you off track

  • Not playing to strengths

    Instead of focusing on what you do best, you try to be all things to all people. What are your core strengths?
  • There are not proper systems or habits in place as support

    How can they be created? (One business owner tried almost every expensive high tech organising system on the market. He spent thousands of dollars. Eventually he realised he likes using simple index cards to organise his daily activities. One size does not fit all.)
  • Expectations are unreasonable

    Who set them? Do they need to be re-evaluated?
  • The wrong role

    You could have outgrown your role or you're ready for something new. Are you ready for the next level?
  • Your mind and environment are too cluttered

    Maybe disorganisation is slowing you down. Clutter can be a cover for other issues you don't want to address. Perhaps a professional organiser could help. Or are there other resources?
  • Easily distracted

    Team members or clients are pulling you in different directions. More reason to concentrate on top priorities. What are your real top priorities? How can they be more present?
  • A people pleaser who can't say ‘no'

    What would happen if better boundaries were established?
  • Procrastinating or waiting until the last minute to do the work

    What are you resisting?
  • A perfectionist

    Not willing to hand off to other people to handle some aspects of the job. What's the risk of taking on too much? What could be possible if things were delegated?
  • Stuck in a dysfunctional pattern

    You continue to do what you''ve always done even though the market or job requirements have changed. What can you do to break free? What new ideas could be tried?

If you are constantly stressed and lack a sense of accomplishment in your work, that's a sign to rethink some things. (This can actually be a good thing!)

It is important to try not to judge. At the end of the day, only you can decide to make whatever changes are necessary. What if you changed nothing and continued to try to get it all done as usual?

You can continue on the elusive path to try to get it all done…


Commit to doing or creating the kind of work that really matters to you in the way you do it best.

Author Credits

Gayle Lantz, President of WorkMatters, has helped hundreds of companies and organisations just like yours improve performance and drive real results. She is also author of 'Take the Bull by the Horns: The Busy Leader’s Action Guide to Growing Your Business…and Yourself'. Information about the book can be found at: http://workmatters.com/books. For more FREE IDEAS on how to grow yourself, your team and your business, subscribe to WorkMatters Tips at www.workmatters.com/signup
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