Overwhelmed and Underperforming

Two years ago, if I could describe my life in two words, it was overwhelmed and underperforming.

Have you ever felt that way?

I was close to finishing my doctoral thesis.

My (part-time) job was steadily growing in hours and responsibility, leaving the time commitment much closer to full-time.

My kids were getting older and starting new activities.

Both my coaching and personal training businesses were growing.

My workdays started at 4 am and often ended after 7 pm, leaving little time for self-improvement, relaxation, or hobbies.

I knew something had to change.

A New Direction

I’ve followed Michael Hyatt and his brand since 2012. Each iteration and direction has helped me refine my own path. But it was at this point two years ago I decided to try his Full Focus Planner.

In all honesty, this has been the single biggest game-changer for me. I get more done, in less time. I also have greater clarity, passion, and discipline.

In fact, I love it so much, I made a YouTube series on how I’ve been using it.

But, if you’re looking for a quick recipe guide to success on how to increase your productivity, maximize your time, and gain progress on your goals, I’m here to help.

3 Steps To Lessen Overwhelm and Increase Performance.

The following three things have allowed me to go from “overwhelmed and underperforming” to “thriving and successful” in a rapid amount of time.

1.) Create Clarity on Your Goals.

 I’ve written before on the importance of goals. This takes it one step further. Not all goals are created equally. Not all are of equal importance. 

I have a goal to both grow my business and be present for my family. When those goals are in conflict with each other, I choose the family time.

Goal clarity is about being clear on your top priorities.

But it’s also about being able to define your goals. 

This last week, I spent half a day creating a clarity document on metrics for my business outside of financial goals. I now have requirements for how many people I want to read the blog, share it, and leave a comment.

But this is also true for every social media account that I have.

Speaking of which, you reading this gets me one step closer to my goal and I rrrreeeaaaaallllly appreciate it. Could you help me get one step closer and share it somewhere?

2.) Simplify Your To-Do List.

Not all goals are created equal.

But neither are tasks on the to-do list. 

The problem when you just write to-do’s down on a sheet of paper is that they all look equal. In reality, there are only a few things you can do each day that would substantially advance your career, personal life, business, or relationships.

Focus on those.

Personally, I choose three tasks a day and design my day around those. While I may need to “check off” ten or more times in a day, I only focus on the three most important.

Think of it this way. What will advance your business (career, start-up, relationship, fill-in-the-blank) more: Sending the Invoice for payment due or organizing your closet (desk, backpack, car, etc…)?

Are both important? Yes.

Do both tasks need to be done? Yes

But which one will set you back or cause greater levels of stress if not done? Chances are, it’s the invoice. Because without the money from that job you might have to sell those clothes, that backpack, or the car.

Focus First on what matters most.

I find that scheduling my big three works well. I have the first task completed by 11 am, the second by 2 pm, and the third by 5 pm. This gives me time to focus on each one, and still get to those smaller items.

3.) Delegate and Delete.

As a chronic workaholic and typical Enneagram Type 3, I love long task lists. It makes me feel accomplished. If I don’t get twenty things checked off in a day, I feel like I wasted my time.

But recently, I’ve also discovered the joy in two amazingly powerful words: delegate and delete. 

Here’s how I choose to do something myself, delegate it out or delete it from my list.

1.) Am I the only one capable of doing this? OR Am I the most qualified? If yes, I do it.

If the above answer is no:

2.) If this doesn’t get done, will someone miss it or will my business fail in some way? If Yes, delegate it to get it done. If no, delete it.

In these two simple questions, I am now free to focus on what matters most to my goals and still get an amazing amount of stuff done.

What sorts of questions would you ask of someone struggling being overwhelmed and underperforming?

Have any tips?

Leave a comment below!

In An Instant

I’ve lost track on the number of conversations I’ve had recently about how quickly time seems to be moving.

I joked about it on the podcast.

I’ve spoken with clients who felt like the 4th of July was only two weeks ago.

Our oldest turned ten this year.

I’ve been out of high school fifteen years already, and college more than ten.

The number of people who have told me, “The days are long but the years are short” are only half right.

What do you do when even the days are short?

The Power of Journaling During Change

In my doctoral program, I was introduced to a way of “checking-in” emotionally during a changing season. It gave space to everyone in the room to acknowledge, own, and share their feelings in a safe environment.

Over the years, I’ve also used it with my clients and with myself during seasons of change. It’s a quick focusing technique that can empower us and it’s a great place to start journaling.

Journaling may be a new idea or discipline for you, and it can feel tough to get started.

If so, here is the technique for you to use that won’t eat up a bunch of your short days, but give you immediate power.

Plus, as you continue in this discipline and the journaling and writing process comes more easily to you, it becomes easier to expand on these ideas and create that daily journal to reflect on.

The power of journaling during change is that it gives us memories to look back on. To see how we’ve grown. To see what we’ve overcome. To see the victories.

The power of journaling during change is that it gives us the power to own our narrative. Experience healing. Embrace transformation. To remember that every day is a season of change. That no matter what you’re going through, “You got this.”

How To Start A Daily Journaling Habit

The easiest way to start a daily journaling habit is to remember the acronym S.A.S.H.E.T.

S – Sad

A – Angry

S – Scared

H – Happy

E – Excited

T – Tender

At the end of your day, journal your emotional state using these words. Maybe you experienced all of them in a day. Maybe only one or two. There is no “right answer” only what is true for you now.

As time unfolds you’ll also begin to expand on these. Like the keys on a piano, being able to identify more emotions will expand your “playing range.”

Great pianists can play the full range of the keyboard. Similarly, people in tune with their emotions will be able to feel, experience, navigate and lead from a wider range of emotional states.

A simple journal entry could look like this.

Today, I’m checking in with myself. One thing that made me scared today was when I was running late for work. I thought it would make me look bad to my boss and fellow employees. 

I was angry when I got home from work and saw that my kids hadn’t done their chores as I had asked.

I am excited about our upcoming family vacation. I really need that time to relax.

I am feeling tender at the moment for my oldest. His birthday is coming up soon. I see the man he is becoming and it makes want to parent more intentionally.

Consistent journaling will serve us well in a couple of areas

1.) It gives us the power to own our day. By owning our emotions we can then own our actions and work to get better.

2.) It expands our emotional keys. By consistently checking in, we may soon discover that these words are not enough. Soon enough, something will happen where you won’t merely be ‘happy’ but ‘elated.’

3.) It allows us to reflect. The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. The same is true of personal growth, writing that book you’ve always wanted, and growing your emotional intelligence. The best time to start journaling was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Soon enough, you’ll be able to look back at last week, last month, and the last several years to see where you were, what you’ve overcome, and how you’re growing.

4.) It allows us to shape our future. If we can see where we’ve been and know where we are now, we can better navigate our future. We notice trends, can see recurring patterns, and break out of destructive habits, relationships, or no longer important goals.

Do you journal? What have you learned about yourself? Leave a comment below!

The power of journaling during change is part of our week-long look at how to navigate the “changing seasons” of our lives. To receive exclusive access to all of the content, get an easy to read recap of the topic, and receive my free five-day course on productivity, joinmy community newsletter.