How much of your working day is controlled by OPP? If you run a business, organisation, team or family, then I'd guess that most of it is!
So what is OPP I hear you ask? 🙋
OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIORITIES! 😀
Managing your workload when also trying to manage OPP can feel pretty impossible and extremely stressful...
Everyone seems to WANT everything yesterday, even when they don't really NEED it yesterday. Many of my manager and director clients dread a strategy meeting as they know they will be given a ton of things to do after it! 🥴
I recently started working with a lovely new client. She was feeling that she wasn't doing her job well, wasn't working fast enough, and that she was letting down her team and her line manager. She was in complete overwhelm. 😰
The first thing we did was break down her workload by mapping it all out on Trello with due dates. Whilst that immediately put her back in control, I have to say, even I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks, goals, and actions she had on it!! Yes, some of them were her own priorities but a big percentage of them were other people's priorities. And most of it was due somewhere between last week and tomorrow!
Sometimes we do need to push back against other peoples priorities. Not easy I know, especially if you are the kind of person that doesn't like to say “no”. Here are a couple of tips for anyone feeling overwhelmed by their workload:
1. 🔥 Burn your SuperMan \ Superwoman cape once and for all (unless you have a more fun use for it!). I'm yet to find anyone who manages to complete all of their to do list every day. Accept that you will NEVER get it all done. And that's OK!
2. ⛔ Push back on OPP where you can. If it is coming from your boss, ask them to confirm whether it is more important or less important than the rest of your list. Show them what you have on already.
3. 💬 Beware of the master delegators who flatter you into doing their work for them! If you are about to get roped into something that not really in your remit and you'd prefer not to do it, remember that, "no, I haven't got the capacity" is a complete sentence and not the start of negotiations!
4. 🗣️ If you don't like saying “no” when you are asked to do something, say something like - "I'd love to help but let me just check my schedule and come back to you later", and then go back later with a polite, "I wish I can help but I really can't fit it in, I am already over capacity." If people think you have considered it, they are usually more accepting of a “no”.
5. 🙉 If it's your own business and your action list is full of tasks that someone else in the team should be doing - read the One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey and give them their monkeys back!
What about you? Any other tips on pushing back on OPP?
Business & management coach, mentor, trainer, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, (and chief pot and bottle washer!)