Managing the unexpected

Apr 12, 2010

Sometimes life throws you a few curve balls that knock your routine and plans completely out. Suddenly you find yourself running around like a headless chicken just to find out you are still behind.

Unfortunately my eldest daughter has been in and out of hospital with pneumonia since February. This has meant not only am I stressed, but also large chunks of my time are being spent in hospital or helping out in other ways.

Work has therefore often been on a back burner and the backlog of things to do just kept getting bigger. I missed my VAT return, haven’t been able to call some people and have struggled to arrange appointments as I don’t know my availability.

I’m sure I’m not alone in facing these challenges every now and again. We all have “stuff” which we have to deal with and also keep on top of everything.

Things are finally settling down a bit so I thought I’d share what I learnt last week.

1.Taking a step back.
Objectively putting all the things that need doing (work and otherwise) into an Urgent/Important grid and then actively prioritising really helps to

• Be realistic about what won’t get done, and make sure I spend my time on the important/urgent things.
• Plan for when I will be able to do the important/not urgent things.
• Gives the all important perspective on what really matters and accept the situation and that means I can be calm and feel in control and be of use.
2.Making time for exercise and eating regularly and healthily is important.
These are two of the things that I often find often go and I end up rushing around grabbing fast food and thinking I don’t have 20 minutes to spare. However they both help reduce stress, give energy and help to think clearly and therefore the return on time investment is great.
3.Let people know.

If people know the situation they can make allowances, help and also support. You don’t have to be a bleeding heart, but just a quick email to those you are putting back a bit, or a quick update where you are at when having a chat is better than pretending you are all on top of things when you are not.

I have found people relate to honesty and the human condition and it takes the pressure off.

When you find yourself overstretched give these three things a try.

If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.

If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.

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