Overwhelmed? Can’t get ahead? Feel like you’re slipping further and further behind and that you may never catch up? I know the feeling, and fortunately, I have a great remedy.
It’s called Project 123, and it arose from a time I was redecorating my house.
My friend and decorator, Lesley Means of Simply Organized arrived one afternoon to help me redo a room. One room. We sat in that room, the living room, and talked about ideas. Before we knew what was happening, we had moved to another room (more ideas) and another (more ideas) and another (still more). In an hour we had whipped ourselves into a fervor of bathroom remodels and office reorganization and new paint on every wall. When she left, I closed the door, turned around, and thought, “What just happened? And where will we ever start?” It felt so overwhelming, I just walked away and left it all behind.
The next day, Lesley emailed me her project proposal. It said in big letters, PROJECT ONE: The Living Room.
Oh, yes. Project One.
The living room was my original motivation for calling Lesley. She remembered when I had forgotten. There was one priority. A place to start. Later, we could move to Project Two (the TV room) and Project Three (the home office). The way she crystallized our plans into a logical order, they all made sense again, and we tackled them one at a time.
When you get overwhelmed by all of the complex and multiplying tasks competing for your time, it can help to sit back and identify Project One, Two, and Three. George Leonard of Mastery captures the essence of this strategy well. He writes, “Ultimately, liberation comes through the acceptance of limits. You can’t do everything, but you can do one thing, and then another, and then another.”
You can use this strategy to choose one focus area or one action item to tackle along the way to your vision. Keep sight of which project you’ll grant top priority, and give it the best of your time. Then you can turn to the rest.
Jot down a quick list of all of the projects you have going right now: Now number them in priority order. How would it change your efficiency if you could think of these as “Projects 1, 2, 3,” etc. and complete one at a time?
The ideas in this article are drawn from The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership and the accompanying eBook called The Extension. The eBook is designed to give you simple, engaging personal leadership exercises and activities to help you be a better leader, and lead a better life. Get your copy today! Click here for a Preview and to Order.