Stung by the Busy Bee – Managing Priorities

Busy Bee

Our lives are a world of chaos with family, work and everything else in between.  Being busy does not always mean you are accomplishing or progressing to complete a goal.  Maybe you feel like you are sacrificing your priorities and goals for others.  While is certainly normal for expectations and plans to be disrupted, having a plan instead of simply reacting to things will help you regain your focus.

By tossing all your priorities and tasks up into the air, you are imposing stress on yourself.  By juggling the stress each day, you hope to finally make progress.  Unfortunately, hoping without a having a plan will keep you going in circles.

Here are two easy ways that together will help you to avoid “squirrel syndrome” and to work toward the possibility of accomplishing your goals and priorities:

Give all of your priorities a deadline date.  Sure, this date can be adjusted, but only when it is absolutely necessary.  A date scheduled next to a priority keeps it in front of other tasks that are not currently a priority.

Schedule time to complete your daily priorities.  When is your day less hectic?  Can you find time and a place where you can focus and make progress toward your goals?  To keep from feeling overwhelmed, schedule in small increments of time, such as for 30 minutes at a time.  Remove the distractions long enough to make a fully focused effort toward progress or completion of your goal.

If you keep moving or putting off a priority, you should reassess that priority.  How important is it?  Do you want to achieve the priority, or are you just avoiding it?

The reality of Life has us going in many directions.  We are making thousands of decisions each day.  Some are automatic and routine, while other decisions can be impulsive or need time to ruminate.

If, at the end of the day, your goals and priorities were, once again, put off and not accomplished, I recommend that you create a plan; one you will promise yourself to keep.  I promise that getting into the habit of scheduling and achieving your plan will help you make progress toward your goals, and you can avoid being stung by the busy bee.

Out of Balance

stretchedDear Coach Chris,

I can’t say no.  I am fairly new to the community and wanted to make friends as quickly as possible.  So, I volunteered to support several non-profits and joined two community boards.  I have been embraced and accepted by all the very friendly people in this small town.  I know I am making an impact helping all the different non-profit groups.  They are always telling me how much they appreciate my support. There is always a fundraising event or an ongoing project to help the community.  My problem is I can’t say no.  My schedule is overbooked because I agree to everything.  I am married and have two children who are (or should be) my priority.  BUT it seems now I have scheduled myself into a corner.  I don’t want to let down my family and continue to make them second.  I feel guilty and sad.  I have missed school events my children have participated in.  I have missed family dinners when we used to talk about our day. At the same time, I also do not want to disappoint all of people I promised to support. I try to spend time with my family but now my outside obligations are starting to conflict with family priorities.  My partner tries to support the best they can and has expressed they miss our family time. My schedule is out of control and I have been stretched to my limit.  I do not want to break any promises and disappoint the non-profits and community boards.  At the same time I also miss family.  Where and how do I find balance?


Stretched Thin

Dear Stretched Thin,

I would first like to thank you for your service as a volunteer.  I know your community does appreciate all of your support.  BUT at what sacrifice?  It is easy for a caring person like you to want to help everyone.  You mentioned family should be your priority.  I agree.

So, where do you start to reorganize your time and your life?  As much as volunteers are needed, it is up to you who you volunteer for and how much time you choose to dedicate. I recommend you sit down with your family and create a weekly or monthly schedule.  Within that schedule, you can identify all of your family priorities. Is it possible to include your family in some of the non-profit events?  You will also see how and where you can fit your volunteer time into the family schedule.  Your family will see you have their best interests first.  I know non-profits are very grateful for any volunteer who chooses to help.  I am sure they will also understand your family needs are your priority.  Once again I want to thank you for being you.  The best Parent, Spouse and Volunteer.

Bounce back to your priorities,

Coach Chris

Need Directions

need directionDear Coach Chris,

I feel lost and stressed.  I am 21 and know I should be doing something with my life.  I graduated from high school with no plan because I was working at a restaurant and had money to spend. The restaurant was my first job and I worked there four years, it was fun and I learned a lot about the restaurant business.  I conveniently live with my parents.  I don’t have to pay for anything and I have saved most of my money.  Now the restaurant has closed and I am looking for another job.  I am depressed and don’t feel motivated.   All my friends from high school have joined the military, are married, moved out of town or going to college.  I basically have no friends to hang out with.  My parents have suggested many things but I just don’t know what to do.  When I worked at the restaurant life seemed easy and comfortable. I feel like I don’t know how to do anything else.  I don’t think I want to work in a restaurant again.   Now I have had a lot of time to really look at my life and it is time for me to grow-up. I want my own place and possibly a relationship, maybe even get married.  I want to make my parents proud of me but when I try to think of a plan I also create self-doubt.  I am afraid I will fail and I wouldn’t be smart enough anyway.  I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  Can you help me?  I need some direction.

Lost and stressed,


Dear Directionless,

To start, you have your life ahead of you - a life with many options and choices.  It is awesome you are thinking about your future.

Even though you may not realize it, in the four years you worked at the restaurant you acquired many transferable skills.  First and foremost, you proved to be a reliable, responsible employee. It also appears you are responsible with your money because you chose to save even though you are living at home.  I recommend you review all of your responsibilities at the restaurant.  You might find your achievements will challenge your self-doubt and fear.  You have an opportunity now to research and apply for different types of jobs.

  1. What part of the job did you enjoy doing? What didn’t you like about the job?
  2. Make a two year plan.  What would you like to accomplish in the next two years? Freely brainstorm all of your thoughts.
  3. Look at the list and categorize or prioritize them by your current interests.
  4. Pick one and list what it would take to achieve that goal. None of this is in stone and can always be changed.  It will give you a visual place to see all your goals and interests.
  5. Take a course. Attend a workshop. Apply for that job. If it seems possible to achieve the goal in a time frame you set, take the first step.
  6. Join clubs and “meet up” groups who have similar goals and interests.

The point is just to start moving forward.  Your journey through life will expose many opportunities.   You are currently at a point in your life where you have an abundance of choices.  No final decisions are required.  So, start knocking on all the doors of opportunity.

Always look forward,

Coach Chris