Rising Star Systems

Clear the Plate – the 2nd Key to Maintaining Focus

In the first installment of this series we created a big brainstorm list of all the stuff that makes up the chaos.  Just to remind you of the overview:

5 Keys to Manage Chaos

  1. Acknowledge the reality of your current circumstances
  2. Take everything off the plate that you can
  3. Ask for help
  4. Manage your emotions and thoughts through the experience
  5. Get the learning

And now for the second key:

Take it off the Plate!

If most of what you’re dealing with is Holiday related or otherwise short term, then the best thing to do, once you’ve identified all the stuff that’s floating through your brain, is to take everything off your list that doesn’t absolutely HAVE TO GET DONE before the end of your unusually busy time.  In other words, take it off your plate.  In fact, I recommend taking everything off your plate and then only add back in what absolutely must get done or the world will end (or the consequences are too much to bear!).

In order to do this, you will need to communicate with the people you think are expecting you to do all those things you think they expect you to do.  Perhaps you bake holiday cookies for the office every year.  What would happen if you just didn’t this year?  Perhaps, just this once, you pick up cookies from Costco or your local bakery.  I think if you actually talk to them, you’ll discover that most of this pressure was internal – at some point you decided that you were expected to do XYZ.  When in reality it’s optional!

The principle I’m employing here comes from Julie Morgenstern in Time Management from the Inside Out.  She calls them the 4 D’s:

  1. Delete
  2. Delay
  3. Diminish
  4. Delegate

Delete them off the plate.  Delay them until after the holidays or short term crunch has passed.  Diminish the size and complexity of the task (e.g. buying holiday cookies instead of baking them from scratch).  And Delegate… which I’ll discuss in the 3rd key to maintaining focus!

What have you decided to take off the plate?




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