Thu, 7 May 2015
I often say that I have a lot of bandwidth. I juggle, manage, keep track of many different projects at once. And it’s not just the number but also the breadth of tasks. I am often juggling wildly varying tasks between my professional and personal responsibilities.
I worked my way through college waitressing and you really have to think ahead and be efficient to do well. I think I honed many of my multi-tasking skills there.
Then I became a mom and that definitely adds some volume and breadth to your list of responsibilities.
As a single mom and business owner for 8 years I became a multi-tasker on steroids, wearing all the hats and taking on many tasks and responsibilities alone.
I used to carry the full weight of any project from start to finish for the entire duration. So, the multitude of tasks and breadth of responsibilities sat as a weight on my shoulders, sometimes for long periods. At times the burden was too much. The stress of so many unfinished tasks all at once could feel overwhelming.
Over time I learned a new way of dealing with large projects that serves me better and has increased my bandwidth even more. Now, I’m not talking about the logistics of how I captured the multitude of individual tasks leading up to any finished project.
This isn’t an episode about project management techniques or the latest software that tracks your progress. As an aside you I do recommend Toodledo, an app and web destination tool, but I digress.
No, this is about how I’ve learned to handle a multitude of tasks mindfully.
You see, even once I had effectively captured all of the tasks in a system the entire responsibility sat as a weight in my mind until fully complete. At times there were projects with many moving parts that would not be finished for months. In my mind the sense of urgency to get the long term project done was equal to that of a project that needed to be done that day.
It was a lot of stress. The push and pressure was constant. I did not give myself the “ah it’s done feeling” until a project was fully complete. It didn’t matter that a project would be unfinished for months. I felt the full weight of the entire thing for that period.
Over the years, and out of necessity, I have learned the art of setting aside the sense of urgency around the entire task and have learned to compartmentalize the sub tasks, not just in my project management system, but in my mind.
If you are a person who struggles with the pressure of the full weight of long term projects you know exactly what I’m talking about.
To achieve the desired result and defeat the drama of overwhelm you must set aside the full project as if it’s not there. Trust in whatever system you are using to capture all of the elements of your full project. Let that be the repository for the list. And then release your mind to focus only on the next step. No worrying about the activities you don’t have time for yet. Feel the sense of urgency for only the next deadlines. Experience the sense of accomplishment or relief as you finish each step.
Releasing a focus on the full project is similar to freeing up RAM on your computer. There is more usable space for what you must do now. You can fill the extra “now” capacity to increase productivity or capture the capacity for things like rejuvenation or personal growth.
It takes practice but you’ll be amazed at the positive impact!
Direct download: DTD_102__The_Secret_to_Increasing_Your_Capacity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST