Feeling Overwhelmed? How Getting Focused Helped Me Get Grounded

Feeling Overwhelmed? How Getting Focused Helped Me Get Grounded

By Mid-October of 2016, I will log the same amount of hours I logged for all of 2015. Simply put, I'm on track for a 20% growth in the number of billable hours this year. With our goal of buying a house in the near future, this has been a welcome increase.

This also means I'm currently cruising at slightly above my maximum capacity. At the end of last month, I hit a wall and was burnt out. In fact, I had to delay working with one new client and say no to another prospect who wanted to work with me.

Since there is more work to be done than I have time to do, I had to setup a simple way for me to finish my week while also leaving behind any feeling of being overwhelmed when I entered the weekend. I also wanted to make sure my clients were taken care of and, while much of the work I'm involved in does not have hard deadlines, I wanted to move tasks forward.

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Taking A Small Step To Get More Efficient

Taking A Small Step To Get More Efficient

I was listening to this podcast by Michael Hyatt about conquering the email inbox. I remember when this was the most difficult mountain to conquer as I was constantly crticized and lost leads because of how poorly I managed it.

Years later, I now actively sustain an empty email inbox and am highly responsive. It's not always easy, but it's well worth it. I've found having a place for read later content, using Inbox by Gmail to schedule messages for a future date, template reponses for common responses, and to schedule meetings are tools that have all helped me maintain Inbox Zero.

While listening to the podcast, Michael mentioned the use of keyboard shortcuts within different tools including Gmail. My next task to increase my efficiency is to learn and memorize the shortcuts for gmail.

Now, onto discipling myself to get these keyphrases down.

What Is In My Toolbox? Tools & Resources For Productive People

What Is In My Toolbox? Tools & Resources For Productive People

When it comes to work, we all have a toolbox. A few friends of mine have recently asked me what tools I wield to carry out the work I do. This question inspired me to write this post so I could not only share it with them, but with anyone else who might find value in it. Here is an outline of the various digital tools In my toolbox for getting work done efficiently and effectively.

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Are We Busy or Productive?

In 2011, I was on the lookout for a tool I did not know existed at the time, but eventually it found me.
Several years ago, Mark Newton founded the idea of irunurun out of desperation when his business was failing. He was extremely busy working on many things, but he was not making any progress in the business. In fact, from his perspective, it was all coming to an end.
Upon arriving at a place of desperation, he felt compelled to go into his office and throw away his business plan binder. He proceeded to go to his desk and write down the 5 actions he knew he needed to do to move his company forward. By writing them down, he could now see if he was actually doing the actions which would result in the success of his business. With this tracking in place, he quickly came to find out he was scoring poorly on these actions. He was really busy doing many things that were not helping him grow.
Busyness distracted Mark from what mattered. In this chaos it was hard to see why he was not succeeding, but as he began to focus, it was clear why he was not moving forward. With this revelation in hand, he now needed a way to help him execute the actions he was not doing. He proceeded to reach out to his friends for accountability. He would send them weekly, a spreadsheet of his actions and scores. Quickly, he came to realize this new-found accountability fostered the drive to make progress on fulfilling his actions.
Slowly, he began to crawl out of the pit he had gotten into and towards what he defined as success. While it was not easy to follow through and enforce the discipline he needed, he arrived at the point where he was consistently executing the actions he needed to do. And, as a result, his insurance practice began to grow.
When I found out about, it helped me change my life. I was living a life of mediocrity, chronic inconsistency and I knew I could do more. I knew my potential, but I struggled to bring this to fruition. As I share on their blog, my struggle to find the key to this locked door was not an easy one.
I recently read a blog by Sara Curtis of the Leaders Lyceum, who introduced me to irunurun. The blog talks about how 'busy' is the new 'fine'. She states in her blog the following: 
"We find our days consumed by reacting to the urgent rather than investing in the important."
Like me, like Mark and like so many others we can find ourselves in a place of busy. Sometimes it's time for us to take a moment and ask ourselves, are we actually being productive? Are we actually moving towards what we have defined as success?
For you, which is it? Are you busy, or productive?

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