Get Caught Up

by Clason, Patricia Thursday, December 19, 2002
Contact Us
Washington, DC
phone: 202-338-2288
888-272-3775
Send email
About Us
Question: It seems I always have more to do in my life than I can ever get done, both at work and at home, so I am putting off the career change that I want until I get “caught up.” But I never seem to get there. HELP!

It is easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of business and the details of life. There are many reasons why you might find yourself in this dilemma. Which one(s) is yours? Fear of change or not being “up to” the new career or job that you want. Perfectionism - wanting it all to be perfect and putting in more time than necessary, even on the most menial tasks. The inability to say no, to volunteer requests, to family members, to bosses or co-workers, and the resulting overwhelm that never seems to go away. Simply the speed of change, often requiring instantaneous response, deluging us in a flood of communication - the average American worker receives 95 incoming messages a day, and sends out 82, not to mention the stress caused by the 13 messages lost in space daily!!

How to get out of this dilemma? First, ask yourself what your long term goals are - financial, career, home, family. Write them in concrete terms. Make them SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

Then ask yourself which actions you take on a daily basis are supporting those goals. The biggest mistake we make is getting hooked on crisis, the adrenaline rush of having to put out a fire and then the high of being the hero for the moment which can literally become addictive. Without realizing it, we start procrastinating or taking on too much in order to have a crisis to resolve. The crises takeover and we are so immersed in the daily fire-fighting that our long term goals get lost.

Do something every day toward the achievement of your long-term goals. A simple action step taken daily builds the foundation for your future accomplishments, and helps to keep short-term and long-term balanced. "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is
where they should be. Now put the foundation under them." --Henry David Thoreau. This takes a certain amount of discipline, however the habit pattern you develop will support you for a lifetime.

I also have another thought for you - might you be resisting something that is coming to you? One of the things I've noticed for myself is that I had to find a comfort level with a certain amount of busy-ness and backlog as part of the success process. The more successful I become, more
things are in process at any one time. I had to shift from looking at those things as incomplete and overwhelming to looking at the next step for each thing and putting that into order. I have a HUGE file of marketing ideas and possibilities. I always have calls to make for future work, materials to prepare for a class, a new class to write, etc. And from what I've heard from major execs and business owners, this is ALWAYS the state of affairs. Sometimes we confuse "being in the present moment" with "having only one thing to do." Given the evolution of technology, the amount of information available to us, and the infinite potential
surrounding us, it is unlikely we will ever return to the simplicity of having only one thing to do. We can, however, stayed focused on the one thing we are choosing to do in the moment and make it the best it can possibly be, whatever it may be. Perhaps a new level of success is on it’s way to you and you keep it at bay with your perspective of overwhelming “busyness.” Shifting the perspective - seeing all that needs to be done when doing the planning for the bigger picture and seeing just the next step when it is time for action - may just give you the appropriate focus you need.

So, you want a career change? Write the long-term goals. Break those goals into action steps and assign them a logical, chronological order to build the foundation. Make sure you bring the process into present time and know what you need to do next. Then take one step at a time. Perhaps
this image will help: a very wise person once said, “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!” And remember, if you need support in tackling that elephant, that’s what coaches are for!