Pacing your career or business developments
What does it mean to 'pace' yourself?
It could be a fast pace, as with lots of options coming at once that can overwhelm you. Or things could be coming to your business too slowly... Drip, drip, drip. Better than flooding in perhaps, or maybe not? At least with the flood, there are ways you can pace yourself and slow things down a little.
4 ways to slow down
- Prioritise which opportunities to develop first or which tasks to manage today, then which can be dealt with later in the week.
- Decide what is imminently happening for you and what could wait or be launched later in the month perhaps, or next quarter/half year. Does it need to be done now?
- Know how long a piece of work is likely to take (then add some flexible time in too!).
- Be aware. It is about knowing your timescales, expectations from others on you and your projects that relate to them, and how much time and effort, maybe, that they can devote to help you move it forward.
As a manager or leader, this could mean delegating projects or tasks, helping others to develop their skills and experience, and the support you may need to offer also means you have to pace it - don’t overdo the delegation to everyone with new responsibilities - just one person a month, or one task per project over the team members perhaps.
You choose your pace - vary it as and when you need to, meeting additional pressures with a slower pace for a short time, increasing it again when other things settle down - work with the pressure, then slow the pace with home-related responsibilities and commitments.
- Don’t overcommit to keep others happy at your expense.
- You will have time to do the things later, if not now.
- Commit to important family needs and children's hopes for example.
- Do the essentials at home, work and socially or supporting friends.
At work, you can reduce your input to a longer-term project than those due for completion in the next week or so.
You choose your pace and that of your team. Someone once told me a team or group is only as fast as its slowest member - at the time, me - and it's true. Yet sometimes that cannot be helped with the things that life throws at you - explain to your boss, whose job it is to manage the rest of the team with pacing too, whilst maintaining the confidentiality of course for you if necessary. Tell others in your team, too if you're struggling with something (no details, just a period you need to slow your pace and therefore theirs too maybe). It may be that you let someone else shoulder some of your stuff for a time, and swap that when their time comes.
You really don't have to maintain a perfect regime every day! In fact, that's impossible to maintain, so do yourself a favour and slow down even just by a few degrees when and if you need to.
This way, you develop resilience to keep working through difficult periods. You manage your energy levels and your mind's capacity to think straight and not be distracted by stressful situations that overwhelm and drown you with the pressures that your life will bring you.
Find new tools and techniques to manage your workloads, your time and your energy, and get the support and understanding you need at these moments from other people by explaining your needs and lack of input at that time. Other people will have their own times like this too, and you are modelling healthy coping and managing behaviours, helping them to feel 'OK', not going full pelt every minute of the day.
Some people are made to go fast, never slow, but it isn't good for them or others around them and it isn't good for the company or family culture either! It can leave some members feeling inadequate and others feeling left behind, and others may feel that they are carrying it all on their shoulders! Simply discuss it, agree who can do what best and why, and agree the pace you all take when you need to - it will be different for each of you and you can 'cover' each other at these times.
A steady pace is much more productive long-term and healthy for all - remember the story of the tortoise and the hare - the hare darts around the race course, but then thinks he has time and misses the last minute resting, whilst the steady (if slow) pace the tortoise maintains gets him over the finish line calmly and effectively!
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