The past eight weeks have been a blur. I’m certain I will not look back on this chaotic time fondly. Rather, I think I will only feel a sense of accomplishment for merely surviving. It appears a period of calm is on the horizon, though, and I am looking forward to declaring April as 2011′s Super Simple Month.
Large disruptions are a part of life, and recovering from them can often feel as stressful as the disruptions. Returning to normal, or a new normal, can happen, but it won’t happen magically. Try these tips to help you get back into a manageable routine — this is how I’m getting out from under the overwhelming backlog of responsibilities:
- Don’t try to recover from the disruption in just one day. Give yourself a week or more to stop feeling like you’re drowning under catch-up work. The aphorism, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is applicable here.
- Try to schedule part of your day focused on new items and part of your day on ones you missed while you were gone. This way, you can keep items from continuing to pile up.
- Schedule actions on your calendar and double or triple the amount of time you think it should take you to accomplish the task. If it usually takes you an hour a day to respond to voice mail, block off two or three hours to do it.
- Schedule the task you will feel the greatest reward from accomplishing first. You need momentum to propel you through the next task, which will be the thing you need to do the most.
- Now is not the time to multi-task. You likely still have a lot on your mind, and that will be enough of a distraction from your work. Go through your email backlog in a batch, keeping track of action items on a piece of paper or digitally. You can tend to the action items in a batch at a later time.
- Take care of yourself — eat well, sleep well, and ask for help when you need it. I realize it’s easier said than done, but try your best to keep your energy levels high.