Having too much to do in not enough time can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Rather than tackling the mountain, it becomes easier to avoid it altogether, but that only makes the problem worse. Here’s what you can do to get yourself unstuck.
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right; Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” Stealers Wheel, 1972
There’s always so much to do it’s a wonder we ever get started on anything. Sometimes our workload appears so overwhelming we go a long way out of our way in order to avoid ever having to confront the stuff that actually needs to be done.
Avoidance is a popular tactic in the workplace, appearing to be busy doing other things. It all amounts to sticking your head in the sand and hoping the original problem simply goes away.
Being stuck is a horrible feeling. It eats you up and makes you feel uncomfortable, stressed and vulnerable. And no matter how much you want and need a result, you’ll use everything in your power to resist doing anything about it even though it means letting others down, hurts your sense of self-worth and does nothing to enhance your reputation or standing with your colleagues or family.
No matter how negative the impact of allowing yourself to remain stuck, you’d rather not do anything about it. You’d prefer to employ all your avoidance tactics instead.
Now, wouldn’t it be handy if you could use all that energy to focus on whatever you’re stuck on and channel it into solving the problem?
When people that get stuck have contacted us at George Thomas International we have been able to help them navigate a way out of trouble and we can do the same for you.
Almost always, solving a problem begins with clearly identifying what that problem is. Then you need to work out your options and weigh up the best way forward. Only then can you start to take steps to put it right.
First of all you have to stop pretending everything’s all right and admit you’re stuck. Just the simple act of doing that will calm you down and buy you enough time to catch your breath so you can work out where you are and what is the shortest path to safety.
You could opt to stay where you are and wait to be rescued, but if you do that and nobody comes to help you out, all your energy will be wasted so the only realistic way forward is to take action.
Once you take action you’ll immediately feel liberated. It doesn’t take much, it could be as simple as asking a colleague for advice, or telling someone else you’re a bit stuck. Suddenly you’re back in control and you’ll feel you’re thinking more clearly as you focus on the problem.
It nearly always helps to write things down so focus your mind on whatever it is you’re stuck on, then take a sheet of paper and list what will happen if you stay stuck.
Let your worst fears surface — if you don’t solve the problem your boss will be displeased, you might lose ground at work, your performance could suffer, placing your job in jeopardy and so on.
Then get another sheet of paper and list what will happen if you solve your problem. Again, let your imagination run riot — you feel better about yourself, you like your job a bit more, you perform better, get a better job and so on.
The positive benefits of actively seeking to solve that problem will almost certainly outweigh the negative effects of not doing so which should help give you the courage to run at the problem with all your might.
You know you’ll feel better by taking a small step to surmounting whatever it is that’s in your way, so take it. And think how much better you’ll feel when you take the next step, a bigger one, and the one after that and the one after that and so on.
Go on, get started now.