“My husband needs, my wife needs, my kids need…” are words we hear every day before we even leave the house. Often before we even fall asleep the night before. Everyone needs something. It can feel like we are pulled in ninety different directions within ninety minutes.
All of this before you’ve had your Monday morning coffee. You arrive on site and awaiting you are 4-7 fires that the weekend has left for you. Some cases delayed, three physicians unhappy, and God forbid something was cancelled. Off to the races, you are- refereeing personality conflicts and mediating finger-pointing contests. We have not even touched the your workload, meaning, you still have meetings with Infection Control, EOC, Risk Management, the Executive Team, and the list of vendors, suppliers, and various sale reps vying to get on your calendar.
“Good Grief, Charlie Brown!”- Lucy
This time of the year can begin to rub at even the most proactive people. members are navigating back to school transitions with holidays and school expenses using mental real estate. Volumes begin to increase as patients begin to schedule procedures to accommodate insurance timetables. Not to mention the very competitive nature of healthcare.
This can be an overwhelming time of year. It’s the season, and though I cannot (honestly) give you a 4-step plan to avoid it, I can share real time tips to navigate it.
Here are a few tips to “Whip the Whelm!”
“When feeling overwhelmed, we usually react by being frantically busy, by procrastinating, or by doing things clumsily or inefficiently... When a person is experiencing the paralysis of procrastination, he or she is suffering the pain and consequences of inner conflict. This pain is the product of helplessness, apathy, psychological paralysis, and a disconnection from one’s intelligence, self, and will…”- Peter Michaelson
Something that often happens, yet is not readily acknowledged, is the fact that procrastination affects you even when you are not the party that procrastinated. This can create feelings of resentment, and sometimes an unwillingness to assist the habitual procrastinator(s)- which leads to the inner conflict Peter references. However, that is not the focus here. 😊
The focus is recognizing when we are frantically busy. When overwhelmed, if you don't RECOGNIZE you are overwhelmed, the probability is you will remain in a state of overwhelm-ness. A state of off-the-cuff decision making, firefighting all the time, running from this to that- unable to maximize your time. RECOGNIZE this state. And then…
Take a breath. Take two minutes and just breathe. Once you recognize the feelings, emotions, and activities that come with “overwhelm-ness,” take a moment- 5-10 seconds or 5-10 minutes to just clear your head. A clear head gives a clearer picture. Get a clear plan, make a clear checklist (whether you write it out with pen and paper, type it into your device, or speak it into your phone’s voice recorder). Technology IS YOUR FRIEND. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the time you spend doing this saves you time and removes you from the proverbial hamster wheel.
NOTE: It is important to use clear and concise language when creating this list. Use the language that reflects how articulate and intelligent you are, and that will drive you towards the accomplishment of the listed items.
i.What needs to be done right now?
Look at what you are/were doing. Is this going to help you accomplish what needs to be done today? If not, stop allotting time to it. Honor what needs done TODAY.
ii.What needs to be done this week?
Follow the format for question 1, but line up the week instead of one day. After you prioritize the week (which may seem an eternity away), smile and get to work with question 3.
iii.Who/What will it involve?
Will this involve other departments? Will you need to arrange/schedule a meeting room? Does it need to work around the surgery schedule? Who will reserve the room? Who will send out the invite?
These quick tips do not mean you will never be overwhelmed, flabbergasted, flustered or frustrated. It simply means you will not live there. Moments of being overwhelmed can actually strengthen you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. However, continual and extended periods of being overwhelmed are unhealthy at best, and destructive to personal relationships that are meant to bring life and refreshing.
Deadlines and due dates are a part of life, sometimes converging all at once. Focus on what you can influence today. And if you find yourself unduly irritated with your spouse, mad at your staff, and eating back to back pints of Ben and Jerry’s- RECOGNIZE you may be overwhelmed. Breathe… and STOP. Deadlines should not be deadly.
Life is too short to miss.