How do you know what to do when you’re overloaded?

Yesterday, I arrived at work with an almost empty calendar, and thought, “this’ll be great, I can catch up on a few things, get some emails done, and it’ll be a great day…”

And then all hell broke loose.

So what do you do?

You triage your decisions and actions.

Here are some questions I find helpful:

What’s most important? What will have the most impact? What will happen if you don’t do something?

Start there.

In the ER, or in the hallway, we think in colors – green is good to go, yellow is walking wounded, red needs your full attention, and black is too late.

All the other stuff is small potatoes, and there’s plenty of time to deal with it later. Probably. Focus on the reds, and get going!

What about that email from last week about a request from someone that you still haven’t responded to because it’s a bit out of your lane, and someone else should probably do it?

If it’s really important, they’ll ask you again.

You see… others have to learn how to triage, too. ;-)

Pushing dirt down the road to someone else isn’t triage. That’s avoiding doing something altogether and shows a lack of skill, ownership, and drive.

Now, get to sorting and start executing! I dealt with a red first thing this morning before coffee.