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Feeling overwhelmed?


Do you ever go through periods at work or at home where you feel like you are drinking from a fire hose?  You have so many things on your plate - and many of those things are very important - that you don't know where to begin or how you'll get them all done?

Jacko Willink and Leif Babin outline a great strategy for handling this challenge in their book Extreme Ownership.  They use life-and-death stories from their time behind enemy lines in Iraq to highlight leadership principles that can be applied to business and life in general.  Below is their battle-proven strategy.

    1. Prioritize.  What is the most important thing that has to get done or a decision that has to be made? 
    2. Execute.  Focus on that one thing and get it done.  Don't let anything else distract you until you complete that task.
    3. Prioritize.  Identify the next most important thing by asking yourself, "what's the next first thing?".
    4. Execute.
    5. Repeat.

Recently I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  My executive coach Glenn Smith recommended that I create a list of all my high-priority to-do items. After I finished my list, it was very clear why I felt so overwhelmed.  I had 16 "high priority" to-do items on my list!  Just seeing the list of items actually gave me some comfort because now I had clarity.  Then I started working on my list.  Prioritize.  Execute.  Prioritize.  Execute....  

Everyone's workload ebbs and flows.  Try this strategy next time you are drowning and trying to keep your head above water.  Prioritize, execute and then ask yourself, "what's the next first thing?".

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Barkley Peschel

Barkley Peschel
Senior Vice President | Fort Bend
Direct +1 281 242 2300
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