What to Do When You Get Behind

I'm not going to lie to you: springtime is my busiest season.

It's also when I get all of my creative ideas, when I feel ready to bring new things in to the world, and when I want to put ALL of my weight on the gas pedal.

But the reality is that there are really on 24 hours in a day, and I can really only be productive about 8 of them...6 if I'm writing a lot or having a lot of meetings.

Which means right now?

I'm behind. On a lot of things.

There's nothing worse than feeling behind, especially when you have clients and customers that need you or require your attention or want something from you. Or if you have deadlines that are freaking you out.

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar:

"I'm so overwhelmed and because I'm so overwhelmed, I have no idea where to start. Maybe I'll just sit around and watch Netflix..."

Sister, that is me 80% of the time. Especially right now.

So when business gets overwhelming, here's what I want you to do (if you hold me to it, and make me do it too, okay?):

1 | Write it all out

I woke up this morning with a sense of dread. I'm days behind in my marketing calendar, I've got new projects that I want to roll out that I haven't even started and I feel like I'm not actually sure how I'm going to make the money that I need to make this month.

So I wrote. A. Big. List.

And just seeing it on paper, knowing I can get at least 3 or 4 things on the list done relatively quickly AND making more room in my brain for creative thought makes a HUGE difference.

So go. Write it out. Literally everything. Even "Wash car" and "Go to the grocery store". Because that shit serves no one rolling around in your head.

2 | Commit to three things

That's it. You only need to do three things today.

Once you've decided that you only need to do three things today makes it a lot easier for you to feel confident and empowered in your workday.

If you do more than three things? Awesome. But giving your mind the space to know that you've only got three things coming down the pipeline not only helps your productivity, but it will help defeat the overwhelm.

3 | Reply to urgent emails with a status update

It can be hard to be your best "customer serving self" when you feel like you're drowning in work, but sometimes, all your clients need from you is a quick note to let them know that you're thinking of them.

I used to HATE emailing clients twice to tell them that I was working on a piece of their project, but I found that most of them didn't mind a little extra check in, as long as I was keeping them in the loop.

So, if you're behind and you KNOW you need to attend to client needs, send an email that says "Hey there! I know I said I'd be finished with this piece of work, but I need about 24 more hours." 

This happens to everyone, and as long as you don't make it a habit, your clients will still love you.

4 | Turn your out-of-office on

Yep, this is a thing.

When I get REALLY behind, my email can sink me, so often I'll simply turn on a "I'm out of the office today. I will respond to your email tomorrow." It lets my clients know that I am not going to respond in the next 24 hours AND it gives me the breathing room to CLOSE my inbox all day and simply focus on work.

Crazy how that happens, right?!

5 | Be ruthless with your scheduling

I started implementing a rule that I only take calls, meetings, and in-person events on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

I also only allow people to make appointments with me using a scheduling software.

And when I'm super busy, I stop taking 1:1 coffee/networking meetings in general.

Meetings are a HUGE part of my business, but there comes a time where I simply just have to get the work done. And a lot of times, that means something has to go (like hourlong meetings without a defined outcome or Google Hangouts about passion projects when I really need to be working on letting the money roll in.

You need to get ruthless, which means no more listening to podcasts when you should be working, no more taking meetings when you think it may lead to something, and no more getting sucked into email.

Being ruthless with my schedule has helped me SO much when deciding what's important and what's fluff.

Your turn!

What productivity hacks do you have when it comes to being much more proactive and productive with your schedule? Drop a comment below!