…That’s Not Even a Question!
(Part 2 in a 3-part series on PM Overwhelm)
In Part 1 I wrote about feeling so overwhelmed you don’t have the energy or mindset to do even the things that you enjoy (you know, like I didn’t want to write that blog post!). The focus was on how to keep ourselves moving forward in spite of the overwhelm.
This time let’s talk about why.
Why do we feel overwhelmed? And what can we do about it?
One of the reasons we can feel crushed by tasks and responsibilities may have to do with our ability (or reluctance) to delegate.
Here are a few common culprits:
“I’m a perfectionist.”
“I feel bad pushing more work on my team.”
“it’s just faster for me to do it myself.”
So okay, maybe we can all take a deep breath and just push the work out…? In reality, making a change by sheer force of will is tough – especially when you’re already feeling stressed out.
I’d love to tell you there’s an “Easy” button, but just like any other habit, it does take time and effort to change.
Here is one way to start the ball rolling:
Take an assessment of your time during the day – pay close attention to what you plan vs. what you’re actually working on. And track it.
This will help you understand how much time you focus on things that aren’t really your responsibility. That 15 minute task may really take an hour and you’ll have no idea…unless you pay attention to it.
I like to use my Outlook calendar for this exercise…and some color coding. Here’s how I do it:
- I plan out my day, hour by hour…or half hour by half hour, if necessary. (This is a great thing to do anyway – helps prioritize the most important items into my schedule!)
- As each next task block arrives, I go back into my calendar and take a minute to assess: was I really working on the testing metrics…or did I slip into solving a testing issue for a team member?
Sometimes I’ll discover I took the first ½ hour of a 60 minute block gathering metrics, the next ½ hour troubleshooting the issue, and then I need an additional ½ hour to finish up the metrics. (Which, of course, requires shifting around the rest of the day’s work!)
Whatever time you spent on work that belongs to someone else, color code it orange in your calendar. At the end of the day, it will be very easy to see how much time you’ve spent on work that should have been delegated.
Now that you can see what you’re not delegating appropriately, it’s time to fix it.
Unfortunately, that’s the hard part!
My advice here is to start small: take something you know you should delegate and work on that first.
For example, if you tend to start solving an issue rather than delegating the fix, have a plan the next time you gather those testing metrics. Perhaps schedule your metrics time when you know your business analyst is available so you can connect with him real-time.
Eat that elephant 1 bite at a time. But keep chomping away. It’ will be worth the effort!
In the final part of this series on Overwhelm, we’ll talk about how lack of delegation impacts your team and your project…so stay tuned!
Stay safe, stay healthy – and lead on!