Feeling overwhelmed?

brickwall200Last week we discussed ways to keep from taking on too many jobs. As a follow-up, let’s consider ways to keep the one job you supposedly have from being overwhelming.

I realize that many of us have multiple responsibilities in Scouting, as well as being very likely we’re involved in other pursuits. But taking on a major responsibility like committee chair doesn’t have to feel like you’re sinking in quicksand. Successful people learn to deal with multiple priorities and deadlines by compartmentalizing their areas of responsibility and handling each task in a systematic manner.

Take, for instance, something many of us are going through right now: rechartering our unit. It can seem like a brick wall and we have to somehow climb over it. Visions of those obstacle course competition shows we’ve seen on TV come to mind. But it doesn’t have to: if you view the project as a series of smaller tasks, and complete each one in order, the whole job will seem easier. In addition, you’ll have the joy of celebrating many successes, not just one.

Although Baden-Powell encouraged us to keep the main aim in view in everything we do, sometimes trying to keep the final goal in mind can distract you from the immediate tasks in front of you and can discourage you from getting going. Focus on what you can get done right now and temporarily forget about future tasks that are contingent on other things happening first. You can cross that bridge when you come to it, and you could realize that feared obstacles may remove themselves in the process.

Taking our example of rechartering, and combining it with some advice from last week’s article, here is a way to divide a project into steps that can be completed one at a time and can help you can make the project less intimidating:

  • Identify returning members. (Let your membership coordinator take care of this.)
  • Collect payment from your members. (This is the treasurer’s responsibility.)
  • Your training coordinator can check your youth protection training requirements and advise members needing training to complete it.
  • Prepare your Journey to Excellence data. (The Scoutmaster can help with camp attendance figures and ScoutStrong data, while the advancement coordinator can provide advancement data. You can often obtain statistics from your unit commissioner.)
  • Block out an hour to spend with your computer doing the online portion of the rechartering.
  • Meet with your chartered organization representative to get paperwork signed.
  • Check in with your unit commissioner or district executive about turning everything in.

See, when you break it down that way, it looks like a series of smaller tasks rather than one great big project! After each step, take a deep breath and realize that you’re another step closer to being finished, and reward yourself when the job’s done (ice cream is a favorite of mine).

As you can see, this is where having a solid committee lineup helps! If you are doing one or more of these additional jobs yourself, the task will be that much more stressful.

The same advice can apply to just about any large-scale activity in or out of Scouting, such as planning for summer camp or a big project at work. By taking some time to assess the scope of a project and divide it down into manageable chunks, you can accomplish just about anything and not get stressed about it. After all, even the pyramids were built one brick at a time!


This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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