Thank God It's Monday™ e-zine by Roxanne Emmerich
Forward to a friend Issue: 100
October 18, 2010
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Dear Roxanne,
I have a friend in need. Every time I ask her how it's going, she says, "I'm swamped. I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off." I've known this friend for over ten years, and it's always been the same. I'm afraid she's seriously going to damage her health! How can I help her stop looking at things this way?

- Candace S.

Dear Candace,
What a good friend you are! You're right—this mindset can eat a hole right through a person and take years off your life. You have to get her to recognize that she's doing it (she probably stopped noticing long ago) and help her realize that she is in control of the way she perceives her own life. I've written this week's column about an old friend of mine to help you out. Good luck!

- Roxanne

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Are You a Distance Runner--or a Hamster in a Wheel?

An old friend crossed my mind the other day. Once in a blue moon we check in with each other, so I dropped her an email. She replied telling me why she hadn't been in touch, then said, "Well, I wish I had time to get together for lunch, but I'm a hamster on a wheel this week, and next. Some day."

Some day. Riiiiiight.

We'd been going back and forth for over a year. I scrolled down to our previous brief exchange, three months earlier. Her last sentence said: "Wish I could chat more, but I'm just slammed right now." Four months before that she said she was "completely over my head at the moment. Busy busy busy."

I made a mental note to sit this girl down with a bottle of red and five words of advice: STOP BEING SO DARN BUSY.

Oh, I knew what she would say. Wouldn't that be nice. If only I could. Fat chance. But the fact is, there's a big difference between having a full workload and being SO DARN BUSY. The first one is a fact of life. The second is a mindset—and not a good one.

Close your eyes for a minute and picture meeting a friend on the street or a colleague in the hall. Your friend or colleague asks how it's going. If you feel words like "swamped" or "overwhelmed" or "slammed" or "hectic" rising in your throat, STOP. Don't buy into the self-destructive mindset of busyness. Find a way to sit calmly and happily before the full plate that life, thankfully, has a way of dishing up.

There's a world of difference between working hard and "being busy." The hamster on the wheel is awfully busy. But it's only when we step off the wheel that we can see the absurdity of it and actually get something done, engaging life joyfully and bringing ourselves fully to our work.

Once you step off, you'll NEVER go back.

TGIM

Eight Ways to Get Off the Hamster Wheel

  1. Stop talking about being overwhelmed. It only creates more overwhelm. You must DECIDE to be in the flow and welcome the challenge with a "bring-it-on" attitude. The first step in that journey is hearing the Henny Penny squawk in your head and squelching it before it can dictate your attitude.
  2. Take an evening or Saturday completely off. Don’t touch work or think about it. No email, no voicemail, no "just checking" on a project.
  3. When back at it, make a list of the 5 key initiatives and the 5 key results for your job.
  4. Make sure you have an iron-clad, step-by-step plan to hit all targets to make those happen.
  5. Bring a plan to your boss outlining how you will make those happen and ask to be released from the busy work not attached those.
  6. Have your weekly plan in front of you at all times, listing the activities to make sure you hit all your weekly results and numbers. Be massively accountable for RESULTS—not activities!
  7. Drop several of the key activities for the week into each day. Complete one before moving on to the next.
  8. Smile and DECIDE to enjoy it. It’s a choice between victimhood and living powerfully. YOU get to decide!

Forward to a friend

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Uncommon Sense
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Whenever someone asks how it's going today, shock both of you by saying, "It's going great!"
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