In this Thoughtscape newsletter, let's look at a
particularly tough time management problem: getting on top of your
workload when you feel overwhelmed.
When you feel
overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, it can freeze you into not
doing any of them, which will only make the situation worse. So you
need to seize control. And here's one way.
1. Know your enemy
The first thing to do is to make a "Now List" all of the things that are
overwhelming you on a single list. I suggest a black pen. If
it fits on one sheet of paper, how bad can it really be.
2. Kill off the
Go through your list with a red pen and cross through any items that
really are not important - if they don't get done, there will be no
consequences (or the consequences are acceptable to you).
3. Send the
stragglers to the back
Now take a new sheet of paper and a blue pen. Go through your list
and find items that can wait 24 hours or more, without serious
consequences. Transfer them to your new sheet ("Tomorrow List"), and
cross them off your "Now List".
4. Tackle the
Take your last pen (green is good) and go through your list, putting a big
asterisk against all the items that will be quick to do (five minutes
max). These are your "Tiddlers".
5. Frenzied attack
Now spend 20 minutes in a frenzy of doing as many Tiddlers as you can.
Start with the first on your list and work down. Don't try to be
At the end of 20 minutes, cross off all of the Tiddlers you killed off
with your green pen, and take a five minute break to get a drink.
During that break, decide which two of the unmarked items ("Big Fish") are
most important or pressing.
7. Measured Attack
When you have your drink, start work on your top Big Fish, and start by
dividing it into steps. Only tackle those steps that are urgent now,
and transfer the rest of the task to your Tomorrow List. Work for
around 45 minutes then cross off any work you've completed and take a
After your break,
return to step 5 and keep cycling steps 5, 6 and 7 until you feel
back in control.
For more information
and the forthcoming
Brilliant Stress Control (due out in the autumn). Both are
published by Prentice Hall.
Hi, I'm Mike Clayton, thank you for
reading my newsletter.
The big news for me
is that Amazon selected
Brilliant Influence as its Brilliant Book of the Month for February,
and is offering a 55% discount until the end of the month (27th to be
That makes it
astonishing value at £4.95, so
buy your copy here.
It was great to speak on "Seven Secrets of Business Persuasion" last week
at the SE London Chamber of Commerce. This is a buzzing Chamber and
I had a great time there, representing Kent Trainers. It was also
the first time I have spoken on influence and persuasion since Brilliant
Influence was published.
I'm proud to say that Management Pocketbooks and I have been selected to
give a presentation at the CIPD's annual HR Development conference and
Exhibition. This session will be called "How to Understand
Resistance and Handle It Effectively" and will be at 10am on 6
April at Olympia and admission to the Exhibition (and my talk) is free.
If you can't get
there, pick up a copy of the
"Handling Resistance Pocketbook" here.
Three more books coming!
My next book;
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects, has gone off
to my publisher and I have completed the first draft of
Brilliant Stress Control.
Christmas, I got the green light for my fourth book in Pearson's Brilliant
series, Brilliant Project Leadership. This is a book I am especially
looking forward to writing.
My focus this
... will be on my
writing, responding to press enquiries, and new speaking
engagements. If you know a conference organiser
who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do
send them to my website:
www.mikeclayton.co.uk. If you need a speaker now, just
contact me using the links below, or
the contact form on my
website. You can download my
speaker pack here.