The Hamster on the Wheel

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do that you can’t get it to all?  Or do you feel as if you move from one required task to the next in a short amount of time?  Have you ever had them combined?  To me, this is a syndrome that I call “The Hamster on the Wheel.”  I’m not sure if this is an actual syndrome and I’m probably sure that phrase has been used extensively and that I didn’t create the name.  But this phenomenon actually exists, and it can be frustrating, exhausting and counter-productive to your business or your career.

I recently have felt like this for the past month or so.  I have had several family events, meaning family has come in from out of town and obligations to spend time with those family members; I have been teaching two classes, I went to an all-day conference out-of-town and I did a dance video shoot that was another all-day affair.  Throw in some birthdays and work and it has felt like a haven’t been able to catch a break!  This has led to some feeling of frustration, sometime anger, and feeling directionless.  It’s not that I don’t know what I have to do but it can seem like there is so much that I’m just ‘spinning my wheels’, like a hamster.

So what to do???  Well, I have found several steps that have helped me to get refocused and refreshed; they may work for you too!

1.  I have to recognize that I may have bit off more than I can chew; recognition of the fact that I have a lot of tasks and obligations to take on has helped me to recognize that I need to slow down and learn to say “No!”

2.  Prioritize – once I’ve recognized that I have a lot on my plate, I go and write all of them down, for each facet of my life, i.e. finances, school, work, family, health, etc.  This way I know what I’m up against.  Then I go and designate them as A = Highly Important/Immediate Action, B = Important/ Not so Immediate, C = Low Importance/Can Put off or Delegate.  This way, I know where my priorities lie.

3.  Schedule – I then take my high priority tasks and schedule them in my planner, as well as on my calendar, so I have them down; I know when I need to take care of these tasks.  With the others, I see how they fit into my schedule, if I can put them off for a while, put them on hold or delete them, and who I might need to find that can help me accomplish them.

4.  Action – taking decisive action on my most important tasks gets them done but gives me a great sense of accomplishment, which leads me to keep going.  For those tasks that I am not as excited about, I find that a timer helps me to keep on task in short amounts of time.

5.  Debrief/unwind – I make sure that I am journaling my feelings and gratitude to get out my frustrations safely.  I also have had to disconnect from the computer (or my phone) and just relax, maybe by watching TV or reading a magazine or book.  This way I feel calmer and refocused.

6.  Fun – I also make sure I do something fun; for me that is either dancing or going to Universal (which I will be doing both this weekend).  Knowing that my activities are planned helps me to go and take time off and keeps me feeling ready to take on any challenges that lie in front of me.

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