Recently I had the honor of flying out to Camp Pendleton California to deliver my Productive Use of Time workshop. I’ve
delivered this workshop on military installations before but always for “civilians”. This time, the room was filled almost wall to wall with uniformed personnel.
Talk about an intimidating crowd.
I took a deep breath to calm myself and began my training. I shared with them my stories..the good and the bad. I tried to give analogies that made sense in their world.
I had a moment where I was worried that I couldn’t relate to them-or even worse that they wouldn’t find value in the training. Then as we all opened up, I saw that under the uniforms and behind the rank, they weren’t very different from the private and not for profit client that I have trained.
They had more in common than I realized. Feeling overwhelmed. Doing more with a lot less than they’re used to. Working to meet crazy deadlines (because lives are on the line). Struggling to overcome habits that have gotten in the way.
They’re not so different from me or you when it comes to the workload.
We have all somehow convinced ourselves that we are alone in this battle to “manage” time and that everyone else is doing a better job. We look around and wonder how everyone else gets their work done.
We blame ourselves that we get so distracted and stress ourselves out with unrealistic expectations.
What to do?
Let’s take a lesson from our Marines. They are known (amongst many things) for the mantra “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”.
When we feel overwhelmed and that nothing is working– improvise, be flexible. Realize that your day is rarely going to go as planned and be prepared for the unexpected. Leave buffer times before and after your key appointments so you have room on your schedule when that “something” comes up. If you think you can get 5 things done in a day—only plan on 3. You’ll appreciate the “extra time”.
Be resourceful. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Start by getting out of your own way and drop the negative thinking. Develop your decision making skills and learn to think quick on your feet so that when life throws you lemons, you’ll have your lemonade stand up and running in no time.
Don’t get discouraged or scared when a goal seems out of reach. Hit pause. Take a look at your goal and get clarity on your vision. Make sure your goals move you. Then “embrace the suck” and keep pressing forward. No matter what the goal, you are bound to have set backs. The key is to remember that even if you fall a little short of the goal, you’ll still be a lot further ahead than you were when you began. One of the tricks that I use when I’m on my training runs is to “head for a goal I can see”. I pick a sign or bench or something I can see in the near distance and use that as my focal point. When I get there, I look a little further down the road. Before I know it, I’ve run the whole distance!
Get some Accountability
One of the big reasons we feel overwhelmed is because we try to go it alone. Building accountability into your day can make a difference. Share your plans and intentions with someone who will help keep you motivated. Reach out to a mentor or a coach to help you push through the struggle.
Speaking of accountability, I shared with the group that I had a goal of being able to run a 5K. They challenged me to not only run the distance but enter a race. I registered for the Hope for Help 5K on October 24th. All of the proceeds for will benefit Feed My Starving Children, an organization committed to starving children around the world. Please support me in my goal (by sending me energy and cheering me on). More importantly, please consider supporting Feed My Starving Children with a donation.
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