How to Set Priorities and Stay Focused When You're Feeling Overwhelmed
Calling all entrepreneurs and creatives.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt you were being pulled in so many different directions that you became completely overwhelmed? Like the demands on your time surpassed the number of hours in the day?
I’m going to go ahead and guess, yes. I’m also going to guess that some of you are feeling that way right now.
You might even be procrastinating on what you need to do because you're so overwhelmed. Like it's hard to bring yourself to start because your to-do list seems insurmountable.
That was me at the beginning of 2018. I was chasing so many different opportunities. It was like I was standing in a room that had 17 doors, and I was trying to go through every one of them at the same time.
I was so overwhelmed to the point where it was affecting my health.
I knew something needed to change.
Enter the "Core Four"
I'm really into end-result thinking, which is basically knowing what I want my outcome to be. That was a big thing I learned from life and business strategist Tony Robbins in 2005 – always "know your outcome” – along with, “Where focus goes, energy flows.”
My AHA moment came when I asked myself, "What are the company's goals in the next two years?" (A variation of "What do I want my outcome to be?")
And then I asked,
"What are the FOUR most important things I need to focus on to get there?"
The four things I selected weren't specific goals to reach, and it wasn't a two-year plan. They were more of focus areas, like bringing on new clients or implementing branding.
I decided that if something came up that wasn't part of my "Core Four" as I called it, I'd look at whether I could tackle it at a later date, delegate it, or get it off my team's plate completely.
Ultimately, this helped ensure that I was focusing on the highest-priority items and making them the best they could be.
Because you can only execute well on so many things at a time, right? When your energy is divided among 17 different things, it's really hard to give every one of those your all.
Something else to consider
The Core Four can be applied to more than just work. The same time I made a Core Four for my business, I also made one for my personal life.
Because we all know overwhelm isn't something we just experience at work, right? In fact, when we're stressed out at work, it can be even harder to focus on our personal lives.
Now I want to hear from you. What would your Core Four be? Or what is your strategy for staying focused at work?