What To Do With That Overwhelming Project

Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

You’ve been away from your office for over a week, you feel good until you sit down and realize that X, Y and Z all need to get done immediately.  Somewhere in the madness of the season and the rush just to get out of the office you forgot to take care of a few tasks.  It feels as if all that R&R you accrued over break is a lost memory.  If someone could walk in at that moment and tell you, “Don’t worry I have a time machine!” You would embrace them with arms and tears.
But, you and I know this technology doesn’t exist (or if it does you aren’t privileged to it).  When this happens we panic and wonder how we will survive.  If it’s a small issue we find a way to work it out; however, that’s not always the case.  So what do you do when a big project or pile of work smacks you in the face?

  • Slow Down: Instinct tells us to speed up, work harder and longer hours.  While we might need to pour in more effort, it doesn’t mean stretching yourself out.  If anything you need to be calm and collected.
  • Write Out The Plan: If it’s a pile of work that needs to be done, bust out a to-do list.  If it’s a big project, write out a timetable of when certain tasks and action steps need to be completed.  As you run through the project make sure you check back in to make sure you are on the right path.
  • Delegate And Partner Up: If you are drowning in work you need someone to save you.  Find coworkers or volunteers you can trust to take on responsibilities you usually don’t give them.  This will not only help you out in the short term, but in the long run because of the trust you are building.
  • Be Honest And Humble: If the project doesn’t get done on time or you don’t complete your to-do list in a timely manner, lean into the tension.  The worst thing we can do when under pressure is throw others under the bus or make excuses to save face.  What we really need to do is take ownership of our pitfalls as soon as possible.  

The moral of the story is to stay ahead of the rush so we don’t find ourselves in the same situation.  However, life happens and to be perfect 100% of the time is impossible.  The important thing to remember is to lean in and embrace what’s happening around you.