More often what contributes to the stress in our lives and careers is having so much to do and worrying about whether we can get it all done. Let me help you out, right this very minute. You won’t get it all done! Phew! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – trust me, just the awareness of this fact reduces 80% of your stress! Let’s talk about the other 20%. We can address that small percentage through a “management system”.

What is a “management system”? It’s a means of identifying the key and most important things you want to get out of your head, down on paper, placed on a calendar to keep you on track to have more control and less stress. It’s often used by executives who lead large organizations and need a system to focus on the right things at the right time. Like you, they have a full plate and can’t do it all.

You spend so much time doing the things that are right in front of you. You don’t have the bandwidth or “brain width” to keep track of and do it all. Therefore a system helps you to do a “brain dump” and open you up for even more opportunities.

How can a management system really help you? Well, let’s look at a great example.

Carol wants to get involved with a couple of nonprofit organizations to give back to her community and increase her network at the same time. She also has a full time job and a young son at home who has his own set of activities to keep track of.

She connected online with a couple of organizations that really excite her. Now with a few events to participate in, she feels like she is making a difference. She adds the meetings and schedule to her calendar, along with work commitments and her son’s activities. The first couple of months, she’s keeping up, but then, she’s forgotten where she’s supposed to be and when. On top of that, she’s doing such a great job with the organizations she works with, they ask her to lead a committee. She’s feeling overwhelmed and is losing her excitement quickly. She needs a system to help her manage it all.

Carol creates her own management system by identifying the most important meetings, activities and commitments she has, when they are, and why they’re important. Her approach moves from just simply adding appointments to her calendar to having a clear picture of what’s important to her, when it happens and if she has room for more on her plate. Otherwise, she’d just fill up the blank space on her calendar. Now, she appreciates the real contribution she makes to the community and herself.

You see, having a management system helps you identify what is most important and gives you pleasure in your life, not what just fills up your calendar, your days and your nights. You’re able to look at your system, stay on track, and feel more satisfied and filled with a real sense of accomplishment.

Do you have your management system in mind, in place…today? Your next steps will help you to get started.

Your next steps

Get a cup of tea or relaxing beverage and sit down with pen and paper. Take a couple of deep breaths and focus on the joy you’ll get from creating a system that brings you increased freedom in your life. Get excited, this is meant to be fun and filled with possibilities.

On a sheet of paper, draw lines to create 4 columns:

Column 1:
- Identify all of the important meetings, commitments, activities that you want to participate in
Column 2:
- When are they scheduled or how often do they occur
Column 3:
- Write down why you are participating in these events
Column 4:
- Make note of whether you want to continue or withdraw and why

Take a step away and come back and look at your paper. See a pattern? Are you able to identify where you really get jazzed and excited about being involved in particular activities and events. If you don’t, perhaps you can either discover a reason within to continue, or find a way to withdraw.

Once you’re clear about what and where you want to give your attention to, then take a clean sheet of paper and create a table that develops your management system. Your columns will include:

-- Activity/Event
-- When is it scheduled?
-- Why am I involved?
-- What feeling do I get from it?

Now place those items on your calendar. This will do three very important things for you:

- Give you a reference point for those important items to stay involved and active with
- Allows you to feel really good about all that you’re involved in
- Make it easy to feel comfortable about saying no when asked to do more

Create your management system today and give yourself more freedom to do more that brings you less stress, more control and greater happiness!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Makell is The Career Transitions Specialist if you’re a corporate layoff survivor, been laid off, recently promoted or ready to leave corporate. To learn what your next steps must be in this new economy, claim your free special report, “The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid in This New Economy”, available at