Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Overwhelm

A Princeton study shows that work is more overwhelming than ever—or at least that’s our perception. Three-quarters of the workers in the study said work is more stressful than it was a generation ago.

That’s certainly true in some ways. But overwhelm often has just as much to do with a conversation going in your head as in the real world. When you tell yourself, “I don’t even know where to start,” a feeling of helplessness sets in. Every task seems to be shouting your name.

STOP. There are priorities here. Take a deep breath and figure out what has to happen first, what can wait until later, and what doesn’t have to be happening at all.

Suddenly the priorities are standing in line, waiting patiently for their turn.

Finally, stop telling others how overwhelmed you are. That adds to everyone’s feeling of overwhelm, and it gives the tasks in your head permission to jump out of line again. They are not in charge—you are!

Once you step off the treadmill of overwhelm, you’ll NEVER go back.

Busy Being Busy

We all know people who spend half their time telling others how overwhelmed they are, funny thing though, you sometimes need a microscope to find what they actually accomplished. But they seem so busy, so committed, that management sometimes finds it hard to say anything. But they keep on being busy, busy, busy.

Then there are those who are quietly and happily productive—and end up with the lion’s share of the outcome riding on their shoulders.

The perception of hard work should never be a cover up for ineffective work. No matter where you are in the company, it isn’t kind to the whole team to let someone ride along on that perception without making a real contribution.

A feeling of being overwhelmed isn’t something to be proud of—it’s a problem in need of a solution. Be that solution. Next time someone whines to you about how busy they are, make suggestions for using their time more efficiently. If you are that person, realize that you could shave hours off your work, and do the same work, and be happier at the end of the process.

Indecision IS a Decision

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in—business is about making decisions. But sometimes we find ourselves paralyzed, unable to make a decision for fear of making the wrong one. So we say we’re “waiting for more data” or “crunching the numbers” before we decide.

It’s important to be well informed. But there’s always more information to be had, and there comes a time when the lack of a decision begins to impact the outcome. At that point, indecision is a decision. It’s the decision to do nothing, and it can be costly.

For every project, give yourself a timeline not just for the outcome, but for the decision making process that leads to that outcome. Say, “By November 14, the budget will be set. By November 21, all design specs will be in place.” Then hold yourself to those project benchmarks. Make a decision and keep things moving.

Unreasonable

Most of us live “reasonable” lives, looking at what we CAN do and using that as a guide to what we WILL do. Shoot for mediocrity and you’re guaranteed a bull’s-eye, every time. But aiming low and being “reasonable” doesn’t bring out the best of who you are. If you want to enliven your teammates, your kids, your friends, here’s a surefire way to do it: Make unreasonable requests of them.

When a person meets an unreasonable request, sometimes they shut down and refuse. But sometimes they react with a fire in their belly. They pick up the Kryptonite, the one thing they’ve been told to fear, and eat it for breakfast—and their life is altered forever. Sometimes they take the power and know that life can be all about facing a series of impossibilities that they will work to make possible. They develop a “bring it on” attitude to almost everything. And once they leap over tall buildings with a single bound, they know they can do it again. And again.

The best part of an unreasonable request is that people can’t give you reasons why they can’t do it. They already know that your request is unreasonable because you told them so!

Decide to make the unreasonable request possible, and amazing things WILL happen!

Roxanne Emmerich.

Keeping Millennials on Board

There’s no getting around it. The millennial generation is going to be a big part of the workforce for years to come.

By 2025, those born between 1980 and 2000 will make up 75 percent of the workforce. For every one of us, there will be three of them!

Learning how to keep Millennials engaged and productive should be a top priority not only for managers but for the colleagues of these younger employees. It won’t always be easy. No generation has ever been as willing to jump ship for better wages or working conditions. When that happens, it’s hard on EVERYONE.

It’s true that some millennials want to be paid for doing nothing, but every generation has some of those, especially when they are young. But far from being lazy, the best of the Millennials are actually MORE likely to stay if they have CHALLENGING and MEANINGFUL work assignments that hold their interest.

So when you’re on a project with younger coworkers, don’t assume they can only handle the more routine tasks, and be sure to ask their opinions when you can. You might be surprised at what you get.

And don’t forget the importance of a little positive feedback once in a while. It can mean even more coming from you than from the boss.