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Yesterday I started working with a CEO Rise client (my VIP private yearlong program) whom I hadn’t worked with in about 6 months. His desk had become overrun with “things to go through” and our adorable infrastructure was still there, but piled precariously with more things to go through.

“I don’t know where to begin,” is one of the most common things people say when they feel overwhelmed. It can feel like everything is one amorphous monster on top of you, asphyxiating you, right?

Here are the steps we followed to get him back on track:

1. We began by updating his Grand To-Do (TM), one of the most powerful tools in Joumor. Before even entering his office, we worked on his to do list, stored conveniently on Google docs and accessible from anywhere. This gave him clarity, confidence and motivation. Thinking through the project while not in the midst of it can give you a more objective perspective, AND allow you to think of what really needs to be done.
2. We cleared the desk. Clearing the desk is awesome. It allows you to reconnect with a lot of things you’ve been meaning to handle, creates immediate clear space, and creates an environment conducive to working effectively.

3. We listed out the Pending and To-do piles. My client is old school. He is diligent about putting his many papers in the categories we created, but sometimes he can get stuck on the next step.

Instead of “Clean out office” or “go through to go through pile” or “do to-do’s,” writing down what each thing is takes a bit of time but actually makes it A LOT EASIER to take action. You see, if you know that there are about 16 sections to cleaning out the office, each section including tens or hundreds of decisions, your brain will try to bring all of those to the surface when you think “Clean out office” and that will make you tired and/or overwhelmed! Instead, listing out the components of what’s involved in cleaning out the office will make it easier for your brain to grab onto each task.

Which feels easier to handle?

Clear out office or Clear out office

A. Desk drawer #1
B. Desk drawer #2
C. Desk drawer #3
D. Filing
E. Right side of desk
F. Left side of desk
G. Clean computer

You might balk at the idea of listing things out, but a few things happen when you do:

  • You realize EXACTLY WHAT THE PROJECT IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T
  • You can cross things off more quickly and feel your momentum build
  • You feel more in control

In Joumor we say, Specificity Defuses Overwhelm. When you are specific, you defuse that overwhelm monster and make it easier to take action and move forward. Not only that, often when you start listing out the things you “need” to do, many of them are irrelevant by them and you get to remove them…before they even get on the list. 🙂

Try getting specific and see what happens, would love to hear how it goes for you!

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