Ever feel as though you can’t get unstuck? Yep, that’s where I was this spring. A million thoughts, ideas, and to-do items on my list without a cohesive strategy, action plan, or timeline. In short, I was simply too “mind” tired to give a damn about doing any of it.

I’ve been on a building streak, collecting items to curate, refurbish, or restore for my shop while writing a book and preparing for my next semester of teaching. But something is just off. I know what it is, but it’s a sensitive topic and often people take it the wrong way.

What’s the rub? People. There, I said it. As an introvert, I need huge blocks of alone time so that I can focus on my work and deliver quality output. People prevent me from doing that. Meetings, instant messaging, emails, texting, and what I lovingly refer to is the “desk stop drive by”….I cannot get a damned thing done.

While I absolutely love what I do and enjoy mixing it up with others throughout the day, sometimes people can be — well, let’s be honest about it — a little extra, which can lead to putting down my own priorities to deal with them. By the time I get home or have the opportunity to turn my attention back to my stuff, I don’t want to do anything but forget about all the things I didn’t accomplish that day. I stare at the fulfillment inventory that needs to be bagged and tagged, the boxes that need to be emptied and stored, and the numerous creative projects that remain undone. There goes that list…

Recently, I realized that I needed to give myself a coaching session. Feel free to “listen in” on my personal pep talk:

  • Take action to reestablish boundaries. This is especially important in an open work environment. (Not a fan of this workplace design; productivity is not improved, and I get far more done at my home office…just sayin’.)
  • Put your headphones on and pretend you’re in a call if necessary. Give the “I’m listening here” signal to the buds tucked into your ears.
  • Get up, take your laptop, and go work in another part of the building for a defined period of time.
  • Just say no….
  • Walk out early at least once a week.
  • If you’re staying after 5:00 PM when everyone else is gone by 3:00 PM, then pick a day to leave at 4:00 PM (newsflash: you’re not getting credit for being there after hours).
  • Empower people to solve their own problems.
  • At some point, leaders need to realize that when you over-pour into people, your energy spills out onto the floor. Coach, don’t coddle. I’m learning to empower (not enable) others so they can fulfill their destinies and solve their own problems along the way.
  • But most importantly, recognize the truth.
  • If you find yourself constantly being thwarted by people and cannot focus on your priorities, it may be time to reconsider your long-term professional strategy.
  • Realize that there are other ways to lead that do not involve directly managing people or require extensive interaction with others. Investigate roles that allow you to work independently, mastering and leveraging your craft without directly managing the administration of people.
  • Employers are recognizing that highly motivated individual contributors can be more valuable than large teams of middle-of-the-pack performers. If there isn’t an existing role that allows you to leverage your mastery, define it, share it with your manager, or just put it out into the Universe so that it can be delivered to you for your greatest good.

Better yet, implement those boundaries so that you can build your future for yourself, on your own, and prepare for a time when you leap ahead forward without looking back. So what are you waiting for? Go on now, get unstuck.

Fly free,

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