As leaders, many times we take on way more than we can handle. We intuitively know it's not healthy or the best solution, but we feel like it's "our duty." Anyone with me on this??? We feel the responsibility, so therefore we are willing to roll up our sleeves and take on more. This ends up affecting our families, our own personal life, our team, and organizations. Now don't get me wrong.... there are seasons for carrying the weight and burning the midnight oil. But if this becomes the "norm," then it's not healthy. But many times we still don't know how to manage and juggle all of the things on our plate, especially if we are leading a smaller organization, a start up, or several major projects/initiatives at one time.
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few thoughts from my perspective:
1. Hire a great assistant- I've found this one to be crucial. A great assistant can really make all the difference in the world. Not in the old school fashion of getting coffee and picking up your laundry. Please. But as a project manager, a taskmaster, and ultimately an extension of who you are.
2. Make progress daily- if you are trying to tackle a big project, or multiple projects at once, this is always my approach. Many times a project is so big it just overwhelms you. But if you can see progress being made, even if it's small, it creates momentum and keeps things moving forward. Figure out what a win looks like on a daily basis, and then shoot for that.
3. Find interns/volunteers- Interns can be a great addition to your team. Not only can they relieve capacity issues you might have, but it's a great way to "test" out new hires before making them official.
4. Delegate- this is the one most often we forget. And not just delegating things we don't want to do. Or just handing over everything and wiping your hands clean, but then quickly jumping back in because it's not going the way you envisioned. Strategic delegation is the key- look at your project list and determine what can divided up among your team in three areas- 1. total handoff and no involvement from me needed; 2. handoff of project but I'll still be involved at certain points; 3. I'm leading the project but need help on certain tasks.
5. Ultimately, less is more. If you are overwhelmed, it might be time to cut some projects or new ideas from the list. Better to be great at a few things than to be average at several.