Chasing your tail and getting nowhere? Try this

Ever had the feeling that you you’ve been busy all day, properly busy, but achieved precisely zero? You’ve not exactly been sitting with your feet on your desk, reading the paper. Your day has been filled with meetings, calls, and important business; you’ve been hard at it. In fact there’s been very little down time. Lunch was over in about 15 minutes.

Photo © Matthias Neugebauer, Flickr CC

Photo © Matthias Neugebauer, Flickr CC

What bugs you isn’t that you’ve worked hard all day. That’s what you do, who you are.

What irks you is that it feeling that you’ve achieved precious little. Although you’ve supported others, lent your ideas, made the right noises, put out fires, responded to emails, and written things that only you could write, your own list is looking much the same as it did first thing.

Now the day is nearly done. You started early; you’ll finish late, and you’re feeling disconsolate. And maybe you're realising as you read that this isn’t a one-off scenario. This is the norm.

What's missing?

You need to feel the buzz of having achieved something good today. That you’ve made a difference, and had an impact. But you’re spinning too many plates right now. You’re scattered, and whilst that’s not exactly making you ineffective, it is making you unhappy. Achievement is lacking, and if that’s a foundational value for you, you’re in trouble.

You’re not alone

Everywhere I look in business, the pressure is on to do more in a shorter amount of time, with less money, and to a higher degree of perfection. Like most of the rest of the world, you’re in the grip of the ‘get busy’ saboteurs. If you’re anything like the Director I worked with last week in a One-Day Coaching Intensive, you know this path you’re walking (can we call it a rut?) is sapping the life out of you.

Time to climb out.

So where’s the ladder? Try these steps out for size:

Photo © Anthony, Flickr CC

Photo © Anthony, Flickr CC

Rung 1: Reconnect with your ‘why?’. Chances are you’ve lost sight of why you do what you do. What is it that you’re passionate about in your role or business? Knowing why you do this job will help you lift your head.

Rung 2: Find some juice, energy, spice. This is a great piece of coaching that I lean on daily, myself. When you’re in the grip of something, and it has you by the hair (the ‘get busy’ saboteur comes back to mind), get up, find some music, get outside for some air, move. Change your physical energy. Rouse yourself from your current busy focus, and choose where to place your energy next.

Rung 3: Prioritise. What’s important today, this week, this month? Yep, think wider than you just did. This time next year, what do you want to have accomplished? Big stuff? Ok then, that’s your focus. 

Rung 4: Delegate the rest. Circumstances will crowd around you at this prospect; budget tight, nobody to lean on, only you can do this thing, not sure you trust others to get it right, it’ll take longer to brief someone… Sure. You may be spot-on here, but it’s keeping you in that rut. Change your mindset and move up that ladder. Time to find ways to offload. 

Rung 5: Create physical space and get to work. That might be as simple as shutting out a noisy office and closing your door. It might mean clearing the piles on your desk out of sight. It might mean grabbing all the mail in your inbox, and moving it to a ‘for action’ folder. It will definitely mean blocking time out in your diary. If this is important to you, why would you not? Your call.

Stuck on a rung?

Need some support to reconnect with your why, find some juice, or dig out what’s important for you this year? Click here to channel your business fire in the right direction, and climb out of your rut.

So what do you think?

Are you a serial plate spinner or tail chaser? Is your day frustrating the heck out of you? Join the discussion – Tweet and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.