“Catch my breath, no one can hold me back,
I ain't got time for that”
Catching my Breath by Kelly Clarkson (click here for the Song)
“They know I have a good ear, so they talk to me, I know I need to listen because the lockdown has made things more stressful... but my workload has increased, and I don’t know when I am going to get my work done”.
Many of my clients and readers, this week have told me that they are feeling increased levels of general angst and overwhelm. In particular, they are most worried about meeting increasing work demands, and attending to the psychological needs of both themselves and their staff.
Whilst there is never a magic formula, in my experience the following
practical tips can be helpful:
Define your work and personal priorities and values. Take the time to define what really matters, in the short medium and long term.
Specify the scope of your responsibility as a leader. As a leader you are responsible for the wellbeing of your employees remember you are not their psychologist, lawyer, financial planner, friend, or parent. Thus your expertise lies in listening, triage and if appropriate a referral.
Prepare in advance some polite ways to end a conversation: Sometimes you just have to cut a conversation short as you have other priorities, or it is not appropriate to continue the discussion. The key is to prepare in a few phrases in advance so, when required, you can clearly communicate with empathy and manners that the conversation is over. (Click here for tips – please note whilst its not my normal peer reviewed journal, it's food for thought.)
Manage expectations and set realistic deadlines for all work with all stakeholders: Regular readers would know that in times of uncertainty, often there is an unrealistic pressure to respond to every request immediately. When appropriate advocate for yourself and your team and negotiate longer deadlines.
Prioritise both work and wellbeing:
Work: Every day define the urgent and important tasks and the non-urgent important tasks, so that you are focused on what needs to be done.
Personal wellbeing: Write down your daily and weekly wellbeing not negotiables, and keep yourself accountable. Click here for my refreshed Weekly Prioritisation, Wellbeing and Values Worksheet
Schedule do not disturb time during business hours to do your work and focus on your wellbeing: Block off 'meeting' time in the diary for particular work and wellbeing activities. Then as with any other "appointment" turn off emails, the phone and all irrelevant distractions. Tell your team, why and for how long you will be unavailable and the circumstances under which you can be disturbed. Remind yourself that things will be perfectly ok if you are unavailable for a specified amount of time.
(click here for my blog on the benefits of slowing down to speed up)
This morning, after my spontaneous but invigorating dip in Sydney harbour, I was reminded for the importance of occasionally throwing the plan in the bin for a moment and doing something outrageous.
So email me and tell me what outrageous thing have you done/or plan to do this week??
References : available on request