I just opened my email. I have 2267 emails awaiting management. They need to be responded to, filed, deleted. I have not had this many emails in my inbox in years.
I have a system for managing emails that works really well. When it is running at full steam, the system takes about 5 minutes/day to execute. When my mom’s health really started to deteriorate, I wanted to spend every moment I could with her and even those 5 minutes became too precious to dedicate to email.
So here I sit with 2267 emails.
It feels irritating more than overwhelming. And there is a reason. I have a system to deal with those emails. Same thing goes for my paperwork. And a few closets that have gotten out of control.
As moms we become proficient at systems that manage our children’s lives when they are young. (Think feedings, diaper changing, bathing.) When our first child is handed to us, it’s overwhelming but over time we put systems in place and although we may be exhausted by the loop of feed-poop-sleep, it stops being overwhelming.
Because we have systems.
Are you feeling overrun by chaos right now? It is probably time to create some systems for yourself.
Overwhelm is one of the top complaints I hear from my clients. So one of the first places I often start to quell that overwhelm is to help my clients put systems in place.
Creating systems is a skill more than a talent. Anyone can learn to create a system. Here is how:
1. Identify an area of your life that feels out of control (i.e. morning routine, filing paperwork, bill payment etc).
2. Understand the solution. Write down exactly how it would look if that area felt under control (i.e. everyone was fed, teeth brushed and out the door on time without screaming, papers filed or shredded in a timely manner with desk clear, bills have home and are paid on a consistent basis).
3. Baby Step the solution. Write down in micro movements what it would take to create the solution.
4. Implement consistently. Perform baby steps every day for a fixed period of time.
5. Refine the process. Eliminate any and all steps that do not contribute to the desired solution.
And there you have it. A system.
Execute this refined process consistently and your overwhelm will decrease drastically. And when life truly does become more chaotic than usual because school lets out, someone gets sick or your business ramps up unexpectedly (yippee!), you’ll be able to navigate these life changes with far more ease.
Beginning August 7th, I’ll be teaching my email management and paperwork system through a 4 week program. Interested in hearing more? Click here.