Buying stress relief: Overworked and overwhelmed

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Everywhere we look there are ads selling us organization. Systems that promise to deliver a new way of doing what you need to do in order to be more productive. New ways of thinking that may give you more time or get you a promotion if only you do x, y and z. Or perhaps it’s a concept that will reframe how you think about doing your work and again- the promise of delivering better, faster results.

Have you thought about why these ad catch your attention? Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by the volume of work you need to tackle? Or maybe you’re unsure of how to get out of the situation you’re currently in which is taxing and stressful?

If you don’t understand options for getting organized by all means go forth and read! Ask your coworker who seems calm, collected and is delivering the goods on time what they are doing to achieve their results. If his or her answer is not sleeping or working overtime, ask someone else and search for a new answer.

Have you faithfully followed Stephen Covey’s excellent ideas? Have you read the plethora of articles and books on how to be organized and effective? Do you have a sound knowledge of how to create a well-structured systemic organization and you’re willing to be innovative?

If the above abilities exist under your belt and you know it, your latest attraction to a “new way” may not be a need for a better system. It’s quite possibly your well-honed warning system.

Your attraction to the “Buy Now” button may be your desire to have the work done. Is your need to finish it, be done with it and move on to the next items on your brimming “to-do” list the reason why the promises of a new system look so attractive? The time it took to read about the new app/gadget/program could have been spent getting the work done. While sometimes a new program may offer expedient benefits, most of the time people are just looking for something– anything really– which will get the work done. Sometimes, that’s you; only you.

Some of our internal warning systems are better honed and indicate a different answer. Sometimes our search for something outside of knuckling down and gutting through it is because we’re aware that a piece of the project is not going to cull the desired result. Or perhaps our gut is telling us to wait. Perhaps our gut is telling us we need to rethink and reimagine.

Pay attention to the meaning of your desire to buy that new organizing mechanism. Sometimes the allure of a new system lies in its effectiveness as a delay tactic. (It can take a lot of time to go through a new system’s learning curve, set it up and then, finally, launch it.)  Sometimes the fear of failure inhibits our willingness to execute and finish our projects. Sometimes the need for a new system is a way to delay finding out if our worst fears will be realized.

We can’t shop our way out of being overworked and overwhelmed. And delaying completion of our a project to escape our fear of failure is only a band aid that and will only prolong the agony. So next time you’re unreasonably attracted to the ad that promises to deliver the “next-best new thing” that will get you on the beach faster, think about it. What do you want this new item to do for you? Will it? Or is it just the next action that’s going to cause delay of game?