I imagine you go through times like this: I started working this morning, and was just overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs to be done today. There’s a bunch of actions I didn’t get to last week, a whole pile of reminders that I set for myself, and meetings from one end to the other.
You know what? Almost all of this I did to myself. It’s not like people have forced me into all these meetings, or set deadlines which were unrealistic. No, most of it was what I’ve chosen to accept.
I actually do appreciate the feeling of being busy – it makes me feel productive. But I also recognize that a bunch of it isn’t really adding value, it’s activity that isn’t critical and absolutely necessary.
This really hits home when you do have a true emergency. If you have a death in the family, for instance, you start pushing things aside. With a few quick phone calls, you call on others for their help, make apologies for those meetings, and put a whole pile of stuff into the “I can’t worry about it now” bucket.
A shocking number of those things, I’ve noticed, never get addressed at all. By the time you get back to work, they’re no longer relevant, or someone else has addressed them.
You don’t want to treat everything as an emergency, of course. If someone calls you and asks, “Could you take care of this because I’ve had a death in the family?”, that’s much different than, “Could you take care of this because I’m too busy?”
This is really more of a mental exercise for prioritizing your tasks.
Recognize, also, that your busy-ness is largely because of what you choose to take on. So when you’re “crazy busy” and don’t have enough time, start with yourself first. Don’t blame it on your boss.