Do you ever feel like you’re ticking things off your never-ending “to-do” list but still don’t feel like you’ve made much progress at the end of the day?
Your new marketing strategy is pushed to the sidelines. The much-needed “you time” has been postponed till the following week. The intriguing new concept you’ve been working on may wait till things calm down in your life.
You have a lot on your plate and aren’t sure what to do about it. What if, in a world where we value the pursuit of more—ideas, activities, actions—you could alter your focus to valuing less and focusing on what really matters?
There is a way, and it is one in which you reclaim power. Here’s where you figure out what’s most important. You’ve made it a practice to delete things. You abandon the busyness cult and place a premium on priorities rather than haphazard behaviors.
You’ll learn how to deal with emotion in this post.
Signs That You’re Having Too Much on Your Plate
Are you having too much on your plate? Here’re 9 red flags that you need to look for:
Feeling Overwhelmed and Getting Confused About Where to Start
When you have too much on your plate, you will find it hard to focus and easily get confused about where to commence.
For example, you open your email and suddenly find 50 unanswered emails. And at the same time, your boss calls up to join him on a meeting with a client. But you can’t go as you already scheduled a training session with your subordinates.
Such instances overwhelm and agitate people, and their first reaction to the situation is jumping to the tasks in a state of great confusion.
When you find yourself in such a predicament, realize that you have too much on your plate and something needs to be done about it.
Temporizing is a mental condition in which you begin to avoid or postpone making decisions or starting tasks. When you find yourself in a circumstance where you have a million things to do, you put off working on it until the last possible moment.
Some people will make excuses, while others will simply use social media to pass the time. These are all strong indications that you have too much on your plate and are unable to select where and how to begin. As a result, you frequently find yourself in circumstances where all you can do is wait.
Working Even During the Weekends
If everything is normal, then why the sudden need to spoil your weekend and keep working on unfinished tasks or worry about them? When you find yourself working even during weekends, take it as a sign that you have too much on your plate.
It is important to remember that sometimes working on weekends is fine, but when it becomes a habit, that’s when you tell yourself, “I have a lot on my plate”.
If you constantly put off spending time with your family or enjoying your me-time over weekends, then you are overloaded with too much!
One of the most common side-effects of having too much on your plate is having sleepless nights because of consistent worrying.
The unfinished tasks and to-do lists keep bothering you to the extent that your mind finds it difficult to rest and fails to let you sleep. Take it as a sign of having too much on your plate.
Making Silly Mistakes
When you have too much on your plate, you start losing focus and frequently making rookie mistakes. For example, even you must have been an employee with an impeccable track record when meeting deadlines, but you now miss them frequently because you have too many things to do.
It shows that your mind cannot comprehend and focus properly, and hence you lack concentration. If you find yourself making silly mistakes regularly, then take it as a sign that you have too much on your plate.
What To Do If You Have Too Much on Your Plate
Having too much on your plate does not elucidate that it is the end of the world. There are many things that you can do to bring yourself out of this predicament.
Having too much on the plate is something that can excite, agitate and overwhelm you. Take a moment, and simply breathe!
You need your mind and body to be relaxed if you need to clear the entire plate or the pile of work. Remember that this is just a temporary situation, and it can be taken care of with proper planning.
2. Delete the Clutter—Literally
As you read this, you are surrounded by physical, mental, and emotional clutter that is draining you of vital energy. This shows up in a variety of ways.
It’s tough to concentrate in your workspace. Recurring meetings on your calendar have been inactive for months. You haven’t had that one nerve-wracking talk. To put it another way, subtraction is the first step toward your next degree of development.
We have a tendency to overestimate how much we can accomplish while underestimating the time and energy required. This is referred to as the “planning” fallacy by researchers. As a result of striving to do too much, we always fall short.
Instead, begin today by removing something:
- Donate old clothes.
- Clear the clutter in your home office.
- Tell your college friends in the text message thread that you’re going to be away for a while.
- Scan your calendar for any worn-out obligations that are consuming your precious time, energy, and attention.
While many productivity experts will stack new actions, habits, and routines to your schedule, you’re going to do the opposite. By deleting things out of your life, you create some much-needed breathing room. With this newfound perspective, you can now identify what matters.
3. Identify Your “Big 3” Priorities
We tend to overvalue new ideas, projects, and initiatives because they provide a tantalizing dopamine hit of possibility. Not being able to set your priorities straight results in having too much on your plate.
- The new marketing campaign is a can’t miss for doubling profits.
- The collaboration with someone we admire has unlimited potential.
- The new podcast we’re launching will turn us into our industry’s top expert.
Not always, to be sure. Because of the aforementioned planning fallacy, we frequently say yes to much too much at once, scattering our finite energy and focus across far too many domains.
Instead, approach your life, work, and business with a minimalist mindset. Choose one, two, or three key priorities for each quarter or “season.” These are usually non-urgent but crucially important projects that make a huge difference.
They aren’t half-hearted projects, haphazard attempts, or “fake work.” They are important to you and are linked to your larger aims.
If you’re having problems figuring out your “Big 3,” make a list of at least 15-20 alternatives. After that, take a step back and focus on the most crucial ones.
You’ll be able to filter your decisions in the future by asking yourself, “Will this next activity, meeting, or action fulfill one of those priorities?”
But this alone will help you with making better and faster decisions, establishing boundaries, and taking control back of what matters. When you do, you’ll start winning your day with daily, consistent action.
4. Win the Day With 1% Progress
The conventional knowledge of personal development and self-help has sold you a false myth: that every day must be a triumph. It’s easy to believe this story when you’re pumped up on motivation, but long-term success is about taking continuous action steps over time.
The 1 percent rule is based on the Japanese idea of Kaizen, which means “constant, continual improvement.”
Using this guideline, you’ll develop a habit of daily improvement and tap into the most powerful human motivator.
Teresa Amabile, a Harvard professor, and Steven Kramer, a psychologist, investigated why people stay motivated at work.
They arrived at one conclusion after studying 12,000 diary entries in which they documented their emotional condition at various points during the day: it’s not money, security, or approval. More essential than anything else is progress.
To harness what is called the ‘progress principle, break down the priorities from step two into the smallest possible action.
- Instead of “create a marketing plan”, start with the first step—brainstorm marketing ideas for twenty minutes.
- Instead of “launch website”, choose to complete a draft of your About Me page.
- Instead of “grow the business”, choose to make three extra sales calls on any given week.
Progress triggers dopamine in the brain, which makes motivation surge, and the cycle repeats itself. One percent today and tomorrow start to accumulate, and incremental growth turns into exponential. To make this a consistent practice, you’re going to lower the bar to get started.
5. Lower the Bar to Get Started
The very first step is to get started. You can’t just sit on your behind and wonder what’s going on. It’s not going to help you get anyplace. If you don’t start, you won’t be able to finish! Don’t just sit there whining, “I’ve got a lot on my plate and I don’t know what to do.”
We’ve all found ourselves looking at a blank cursor in a neighborhood coffee shop, ready to get some work done, only to realize that 55 minutes had passed and we’d accomplished nothing.
Why? The hardest thing is usually getting started, and it’s even more difficult when you have a lot on your plate. Resistance is usually heaviest immediately before you start, whether it’s your fitness program or focusing on your priorities.
This is a fancy way of stating the amount of energy it takes to move from contemplating doing something to actually doing it.
Instead, you’re going to play a trick on yourself:
- Instead of a 45-minute time-block, commit to doing 10 minutes.
- Instead of a 3-mile run, commit to two loops around the block.
- Instead of cleaning your home, commit to getting the closet done.
By lowering the bar, you’ll take the pressure off yourself. And, as you’ll notice, once you’ve started, it’s much easy to keep going.
6. Double Your Rate of Saying No
You never make a decision in a vacuum. You said “no” to your morning workout since you agreed to a coffee meeting early in the morning.
We have a habit of saying yes without considering the implications until we’re stuck at a networking event or Zoom catch-up we don’t want to be at.
However, “no” is the most critical word you can employ in your quest to clear your plate.
Of course, this does not imply that you will ignore aspects of your life that you find enjoyable. Instead, you’ll do so with caution. If you don’t, you’ll say “yes” to everyone at your expense.
Instead, begin by saying “yes” to yourself. Accept your ambitions. Accept your responsibilities. Before you agree to someone else’s wants and objectives, say yes to your creative time.
Here are two questions to ask yourself when receiving a request or opportunity are:
- If this was tomorrow morning, would I still say yes? We tend to say yes to anything that is a few weeks or months out.
- If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to, and is it worth it? This simple question allows you to be aware of the cost.
Saying no creates instant clarity. It deletes “open loops” in our heads and honors some much-needed boundaries. Most importantly, it gives you the time, energy, and bandwidth to pour yourself into your priorities.
7. Leave the Cult of Busy
The cult of busy saps your vitality and thrives on turning you into a card-carrying member who pays their dues in the form of tiredness, sporadic progress, and burnout.
Busyness has evolved into a societal badge of honor, a “tell” that lets others know you’re important. It’s almost as if having too much to do is a good thing.
Is being busy, on the other hand, genuinely productive?
Overwhelm, distraction, and a lot of social media browsing result from being busy for a long time. Leaving the religion of activity takes courage, and it starts with your words.
Language, according to research, gives us insight into our beliefs. It’s easy to delay and self-sabotage on what matters if we assume we’re always busy and don’t have enough time.
Catch yourself the next time you want to brag about how busy you are and how chaotic your life appears to be. Change your tone and vocabulary.
8. Celebrate Wins Every Day
You’re the worst person on the planet when it comes to recognizing your own progress. It’s a bold statement, but I can confidently say it because I am.
We’re all doing it. We are experts at concentrating on what isn’t working and the “gap” between our current reality and our future self.
Furthermore, we frequently overlook the accomplishments we have worked so hard to achieve. Once we’ve completed them, we brush them off and move on to the next.
It’s time to reclaim control and celebrate three victories every day. These aren’t about big moments; they’re about the little things you did to show up. When you have a lot on your plate, this is crucial to help yourself.
Identify the ‘element of success’ for your win if you want to take it a step further.
- Your win was to show up for your early morning workout, the ingredient is discipline.
- Your win was to have a tough conversation with someone, the ingredient is honesty.
- Your win was to publish something before you felt ready, the ingredient is courage.
Why does this matter?
Celebrating small wins has been shown to amplify motivation in our personal and professional lives. By writing these down, you’ll recognize the places where you are growing and are already accumulating the ingredients of your next success.
9. Accept Help from Others
When you find yourself in a situation where you have a lot on your plate, you can seek help. If you have a team, you can delegate certain tasks, or if you work solo, you can ask a friend for a favor.
The important thing here is to ensure that you get out of this sad state of mind and finish the tasks on the plate.
It’s Time to Take Stuff Off Your Plate
We’ve all felt like we have too much on our plate at some point—and things seem to be getting worse, not better. There are more tasks to do.
There are more social media platforms to post and comment on. More inputs are competing for our attention that never seem to end.
The reality is that unless you take control of this now, it will only get worse. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
- You can delete clutter every day.
- You can get clear on your priorities.
- You can choose to leave the cult of busy.
Once you do, you’ll start to be valueless, not more. You’ll accumulate winning days more often. You’ll learn how to set boundaries and recognize a distraction disguised as a shiny opportunity.
Best of all, you’ll get to the end of your days knowing you are moving forward in your life and business. During these times, nothing could be more important or relevant.