It’s been an uncommonly busy two months. Add to that the miserable cold that doesn’t want to leave. Mix together and you end up (well, I ended up) with overload. That, in turn, caused stress, which made me feel even more unable to cope. In my practice, I work with a lot of clients who are in perennial overload; they are too busy and, therefore, there is too much going on for any of it to be handled well. This is not a way to get things done. My advice: Simplify. And let go.
Making things more simple means using templates and creating tools that allow you to easily accomplish the things that must get done regularly. Even if regularly is once a year, every year. So your annual mailing and your gala invites should not be recreated every year. Updated, yes. Redone? Not necessary.
Letting go is harder than simplification. It means thinking about what you can stop doing—permanently or just this once. It means not doing something because, really, is may not need to be done.
So there I was, feeling awful and overwhelmed and worried about missing deadlines that couldn’t be missed. What to do?
I made a list. I love making lists. Putting down in writing what is on my plate is the first step to getting a handle on what I actually need to do.
On this list was my newsletter which I usually do monthly. And this blog, which I usually do weekly or even, often, twice a week.
Sick and overburdened as I felt, these both seemed tasks too far. So I decided that I would not do a February newsletter and to skip the week in blogging.
I thought I’d feel guilty, sure I had made a mistake. But honestly, what I felt was relief. I now had a day more to do the work I get paid to do, and to do that work to my normally high expectations.
Too often, when we think about our “to do” list, we only consider those things that we need to accomplish. Sometimes, creating a “not to do” list can be even more effective and let you be ever more efficient in the work you do.
Janet Levine works with nonprofits, taking them from mired to inspired. Learn how you can be inspired at www.janetlevineconsulting.com. While there, do sign up for the newsletter and contact Janet for a free 30-minute consultation.