Many of my clients come to me, feeling utterly swamped. They’re struggling to conquer overwhelm, which seems to be an all-too-common issue in today’s fast-paced world.
“Mark, how do I deal with all this overwhelm?” is a question I hear repeatedly.
They express feelings of frustration and fatigue, seeking a solution to manage their overflowing to-do lists.
ODAE to the Rescue
Well, I have just the right tool for them, and it’s known as the ODAE exercise.
ODAE stands for Outsource, Delegate, Automate, and Eliminate.
This strategy is crucial because, often, you might not realize just how much you’re taking on.
You feel the weight of overwhelm, but don’t see the cause.
This exercise aims to bring that into perspective.
The first step is simple yet requires honesty.
You need to be truthful with yourself for this exercise to work.
Grab a notebook or some paper – don’t overcomplicate this step by searching for the perfect notebook.
It’s about the content, not the container. Write down everything you do, both professionally and personally, noting the task, the time it takes, and most importantly, how it makes you feel.
This isn’t about the mundane tasks like brushing your teeth, but the significant activities that shape your day.
Do this for several days to get a comprehensive picture, as no two days are exactly alike.
Once you’ve compiled your list, it’s time for analysis.
You Do More Than You Give Yourself Credit For
This is where the ODAE strategy comes into play.
Go through your list and categorize each task: O for Outsource, D for Delegate, A for Automate, and E for Eliminate.
This step is crucial in learning to conquer overwhelm, as it helps you understand what tasks can be shifted away from your plate.
The distinction between outsourcing and delegating can be nuanced, but do your best to categorize each task accurately.
The next step is to take action. Actually outsource, delegate, automate, and eliminate the tasks you’ve identified.
Now For the Magic
This is where the magic happens. In an era where automation is increasingly accessible and effective, leveraging these tools can significantly reduce your workload.
Don’t shy away from temporarily eliminating tasks to see if they’re actually essential. Remember, the goal is to lessen your load effectively.
If you’re unsure how to start outsourcing or automating, turn to the internet.
Google is a fantastic resource for finding solutions to your specific needs.
This exercise, if done correctly, will result in having less on your plate, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.
Time Abhors a Vacuum
A word of caution: once you’ve cleared space in your schedule, resist the urge to fill it up with non-essential tasks.
The objective of the ODAE exercise is not just to reduce your current workload but also to prevent future overwhelm.
By focusing on what’s truly important, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, less stressed, and more in control of your life.
In summary, this straightforward exercise can be incredibly effective.
Are You Committed?
If you commit to it, the ODAE exercise will help you conquer overwhelm and bring much-needed balance and focus to your professional and personal life.