We’ve all been in a situation when we are feeling overwhelmed and there are only a few responses I have seen people have: Collapse, Pretend, or Deal.
If you are a collapse person, when the going gets rough you just fall apart. These folks ramp up the activity and appear out of control. Everything is done at warp speed, but not done well. You rush from project to project like someone spinning plates. Inevitably as more is added you cannot keep up with it all and there is a collapse.
Deadlines are missed, other work is turned in on time but is half-finished, and you are physically exhausted.
If you are a pretend person, when the going gets rough you just ignore some of the stuff you have to do. These folks don’t change anything and appear clueless. They don’t change speed or approach, they just stick stuff in a drawer and pretend it wasn’t assigned. They do the things they like and most likely do it well, but completely drop the ball on everything else. Inevitably a deadline is approaching, work hasn’t been started, and this person leaves the office at 4:30 to spend time with friends.
Entire projects are completely ignored, other co-workers are left holding the bag, and you are blissfully unaware of the drama you have left in your wake.
If you are a deal person, when the going gets rough you realize that you have probably overcommitted or that this is just a season of business. These folks tend to hit a “pause button” of sorts and create a game plan to maintain organization and triage their task list. They talk to those that are owed work product and provide feedback about timing and the current work load. They negotiate extensions or simply stay later or take work home to complete it.
Projects are completed within the original or newly negotiated time frame. Co-workers appreciate your willingness to roll up your sleeves, and your supervisor is happy you have taken the steps necessary to overcome the obstacle.
I’m a deal person. I haven’t always been a deal person, when I was a kid I was a collapse person, I have trained myself to be a deal person. The best part is that your response to being overwhelmed is completely within your control. 100%. Sometimes you will be overwhelmed. No matter how much you try to avoid it, life has a way of putting you in those situations.
So, choose to be a deal person. Stop making excuses for why you can’t deal, and just deal. Take a minute, look at everything on your plate and choose to deal with it.
What sort of person are you?