A Series on Small Shifts and Overload: Shifting Overload #1

Are you overloaded?

Not surprisingly, many of my coaching partners are.  It’s left them:

  • Feeling out of control that they will meet their job expectations
  • Despairing that the load will ever lighten
  • Focusing on the latest crisis of the day, or on other people’s priorities, not theirs.


Using a Shift Continuum, they were able to jump off the overload hamster wheel.

How did they do it?  By looking at their patterns of how they were responding to overload.  One felt he was consumed by others’ demands, and not getting big things done where he could make an impact.  So, he shifted the organization of his week just slightly, carving out a half-hour time period where he would focus on his projects alone.

This started a positive roll that had multiple positive effects.  First, he began to make progress on issues that made a big difference in his division; so much so, that he scheduled a second half hour for later in his weeks.

Second, he began to triage his emails.  Where before he tried answering everything, his shift to “the big stuff” opened his eyes to a sudden revelation: he filtered what was crucial, what was of average importance, and what he didn’t need to answer.  So the first shift caused a second shift: the byproduct of the half-hour meetings was an ability to cut the incoming.

How is overload influencing your life – whether at work or at home?

This manager noticed his pattern and shifted it slightly.  What are some of your patterns in dealing with overload, whether it’s a mindset (Despair? Feeling out of control?) or a behavior (Churning out easy to-dos but not making the impact you want?)? What small shift to your work habits or your attitude or your reaction to stress could you make?