A while back a lot of new responsibilities were added to my position. I began to be in charge of our whole return process on the purchasing side of our company, which meant working with vendors (I hate talking on the phone), coordinating with customer service, and solving weird complicated problems that always seem to arise.
At first I was really excited that the company was putting more faith and responsibility in me. But then the nerves set in, how was I going to handle all of this extra work, a new process that I’d need to learn and manage, and all while keeping up with my projects, inventory maintenance, and day-to-day reporting?
It’s been about 3 months, and I’m finally starting to feel like I have a handle on everything that’s been thrown at me. I don’t get overwhelmed, I’ve got my system for organization, and I’m not afraid to ask questions when I have to deal with something new. But it took a while for me to get to the comfort level that I am right now with my job, so I wanted to share some of my favorite tips that I’ve learned over this past quarter to help you.
You may not have to a new responsibility at work, but maybe you’re starting a side project, your taking an extra class, your stepping up your goals and putting the foot to the pedal in your life. Whatever the situation, we all have moments where we ask a lot of ourselves and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. These three little tips will make the journey a little bit smoother, they’ve worked well with me!
How to Handle New Responsibilities
I think this is the thing that has saved me the most over my whole life, but especially now. Staying on top of your inbox, your files, anywhere that you’re constantly accessing or using can help make a situation go from nervous breakdown to a breath of relief. Nothing is worse than looking for something you desperately need and not being able to find it. I honestly think that’s why I lose my cool the most.
For me, my inbox was where I focused most of my OCD energy on. I created a separate file, with a breakdown of files per activity. I then added a “open” and “closed” sub-file to each of those, so anything that was still pending was in an active file easy to find for followups or to enter information in the system, and anything that was closed could still be accessed if I needed to look up something. This helps me look at only the open issues and not lose an important email because it’s hidden under a chain of random, closed problems from a month ago.
I’ve also become obsessed with email notifications. I set flags on any email where I need a response so that I can be notified to follow up in a timely manner if I don’t hear back. It’s honestly saved my behind too many times to count.
How Do You Eat an Elephant?
One bite at a time.
This is one of my favorite sayings, it’s easy to look at the whole problem and immediately get overwhelmed or confused or stressed and just totally give up. But especially when you’re dealing with something new, just focus on one little portion of the problem and tackle that before moving on. Slowly but surely you’ll pick up momentum and solve the bigger issue at hand.
With my new responsibilities, it’s easy to think of every little step I need to take and try to do it all at once, but that will never be successful and just lead to me breathing in a paper bag as I’m being escorted out of the building for snapping on someone (I could see it happening).
I try and write down all the steps I need to do or information I need and slowly check off one thing at a time until I have everything under control. It’s the only way to keep me out of a straight jacket some days (just kidding – well kind of!).
Ask For Help
I don’t know everything. I’m not going to pretend like I do, especially because usually when I do that’s when I make a fool out of myself. There’s so much that I’m still learning, and the only way to get the proper answers is to make it up as I go. JUST KIDDING! IT’S TO ASK QUESTIONS – pretty obvious considering it’s the title of this section….
I’m constantly asking questions, about what I should do, why things are done a certain way, what if we did something a little differently. I’m getting a better understanding so I can do my job to the best of my abilities and also to see if there’s any way that we can improve.
Always Growing. Always Learning. Always Asking.
Hopefully these quick little tips will help make any new responsibilities or new goals in your life a little easier to handle and help you get your feet on the ground a little quicker. How do you deal with an overwhelming situation?! I’m always looking for ideas!