Do you ever feel like your work life has gotten out of control? Do you ever feel like you are just holding on for dear life hoping that your grip will last long enough to make it through the day? Have you ever wondered how you have gotten this far away from your dreams and goals?
“The path is made by walking. And when you’re walking that path, you choose how things affect you. You always have that freedom, no matter how much your liberty is curtailed. You…get to choose…how things affect you.”
A statement so nice, actor Patton Oswalt said it twice to the graduating class of his former high school.
It’s true. You may not feel that way today. I’ve been there, too – buried by such a heavy workload that I never thought I would see the light of day again. I felt powerless.
It also had a quite paradoxical effect:
The more I had to do, the more I felt paralyzed from doing anything.
So have you been there? If so, get up. Decide to thrive. After all, it is as simple as understanding that you get to choose how things affect you.
10 Ways to Regain Control
Here are 10 ways you can take control and put the power back in your own hands:
1. You get to choose to unclutter your space.
Get a big honkin’ trashcan and recycling bin, and eliminate all the clutter from your desk. You can get a nifty little scanning app for your phone and quickly snap each piece of paper and trash it. As Flaubert once said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
2. You get to choose to turn off your phone and other buzzers, beeps, and chirps.
You get to choose to turn off notifications and close any app that can push anything – emails, tweets, pings – toward you. You only have to be as available as you want to be.
3. You get to choose to do, delegate, or delete those tasks that have been killing you on the inside.
You’ve chosen to avoid it thus far. How’s that working out for you? One way or another, accept the consequences of an action, But take an action – today – on every malignant item on your inbox.
4. You get to choose to archive all those someday-maybe emails growing mold in your inbox.
You’re not deleting them. You’re just putting them in storage and out of sight. You can tackle them all someday. Maybe.
5. You get to choose to stop leaving loose threads.
Meetings? Calls? Emails? End each one with next steps, deadlines, or complete and total resolution. There will be much rejoicing, and a lot less worrying.
6. You get to choose to schedule half the default time for meetings.
Do you typically block off an hour for that weekly meeting with Dave? Do yourself (and Dave) a favor, and block off thirty minutes. Feeling slightly more daring? Schedule fifteen. Things tend to expand to fill the time they’re allotted. Give them less.
7. You get to choose to notify people in your email signature that…
You are only checking email three times a day to get more done for your customers, clients, and co-workers.
8. You get to choose to be disciplined enough to actually follow through on your new email signature.
It is up to you to uphold your personal integrity and do what you are stating you will do. And, YOU CAN do it.
9. You get to choose to stay healthy.
Drink more water and less of anything else, thus improving your focus and giving you reasons to stretch, get up from your desk, and routinely take a bio-break.
10. You get to choose to simply focus on doing the next right thing.
It is really simple when you feel empowered to make and take the next step toward a more productive, capable, and satisfying role that helps you regain control of your work life.
You are like Théoden, King of Rohan, in Lord of the Rings: your spirit decayed by the powerful spell of over-stimulation, over-choice, and a total lack of work wellness.
Good News: Today, the spell is broken. Almost immediately, you can begin to restore your awesomeness.
The choice is yours. What are you going to do to help regain control of your work life? How can this begin a new recipe for other roles you play at home and in your community? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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