Managing the Inferno: How to Get Organized and Regain Control When You Are Overworked, Overcommitted, and Overwhelmed

As leaders, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious when you have so many responsibilities and too many items on your to-do list. Clearing the clutter from your life and organizing things just a little better can make a world of difference and help you regain more control of your life. and your brain health.

First things first, start by saying “no” a little more often.  Obviously, you can’t say no to everything that comes your way, but you can be a little more choosey about the projects you take on and the functions you agree to attend.   Remind yourself, saying “yes” means saying “no” to something else. Make sure you’re making the right choice. Once you learn how to tell people “no” you will find you not only have more time to put back into your life, but you will also experience less anxiety about the need to live up to the expectations you allow others to place on you.

De-clutter and de-stress.  When your surroundings are de-cluttered, your mind has a chance to relax and focus.  Weed out old and outdated paperwork; donate things you no longer use, and clean out your inbox. Consider these things when purging:

  • Is the information relevant to my current job or life?
  • Has the information become outdated?
  • How easy would it be to replace this information?  (Think Internet!)
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if I got rid of it?

For those items that are important to keep but not needed on a daily basis consider scanning these less frequently used items into a document storage system and then tucking them away in the cloud.

One of the easiest ways to become overwhelmed and stressed is to allow your desk to become cluttered and disorganized.  By simply following a process of filing and cleaning off your desktop, your stress level will start to decline.   To begin clearing off your desk is by following the rule of doing something with every paper you touch.  That doesn’t mean throwing it aside, but dealing with it in some manner.   If it is an invitation to an event you plan to attend, immediately put the date, time, location and any other pertinent information into your calendar and then you can toss the paper into the recycling bin.  If it is reading material that you cannot get to at the time, file it in your “reading” folder.  Are you waiting for information from someone else before you can address, how about a “waiting on others” folder?  Remember, this rule can also apply to e-mails, use the folders application in your inbox.

Becoming and staying organized at work should be a daily task.  Set some time aside each day to retain your organization.  If you keep up with your filing and clearing of your desk daily, the clutter won’t get out of hand.  Make sure you create a system that’s right for you.  If it doesn’t make sense to you or is too complicated you won’t use it.  Happy Organizing!