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How to get more done without burning out

One day I was reading an article in Forbes magazine, “The 10 Life Lessons From Steve Jobs We Should Never Forget,” and I stopped in my tracks when I got to Lesson #3: “You can’t do it all yourself.” That one jumped right off the page for me, and I immediately knew it was a message I needed to share.

In business and in our personal lives, we often feel we have to do it all ourselves, and this leads to many nonproductive feelings: exhaustion, frustration, resentment and even loneliness. Women, of course, are especially bad about trying to do it all. We are superwomen and high achievers and… if we’re not careful, we crash and burn.

If you want to accomplish great things with less stress in life and at work, here are three ways to do it.

1. Choose powerfully

There is an underlying fear in the business world that if we say “no” to something we will be punished, dismissed or seen as unwilling to do what it takes, and so we take on too many tasks, feeling that we don’t have any other choice. But you do have a choice, and it’s OK to say “no” sometimes. The best thing you can do for yourself is to choose powerfully. This means looking at all the items on your plate and examining the positive and negative impact each one will have on you and those in your life. Are you the best person to perform the task? Do you have all the resources you need to get it done (time, money, other people)? What will be put on the back burner if you agree to move forward? Will you have fun doing it or grow from the experience? Asking these questions and answering them honestly will help you make sure you choose powerfully before you act.

2. Ask for help

Regardless of appearances, there are always people to help you. This is a world of billions, not one. But people aren’t always going to step up and volunteer; you have to ask for help sometimes. Beware of the martyr in all of us that says, “Well, it looks like no one else is going to do it, so I guess I have to.” That is just false self-talk. If and when you feel that side of you rise up, see that as your cue to ask others for help. I spent years never asking for help because I assumed everyone else was busy, but when I finally learned that people were very willing to pitch in when asked, my work life improved dramatically.

3. Delegate

Asking for help is the first step to delegation, but then you have to make sure that the willing party is the right person for the job. Just handing a task off to a random body is a surefire way of creating the boomerang effect: What you gave away will come back right to you. If the person who offered to help is qualified to do the job, tell them what your expectations are, then move out of the way and let them do their thing. Check in now and then to ensure there are no questions or roadblocks, but don’t micromanage.

Be the leader in your life and business by choosing powerfully, asking for help and delegating. You will be amazed at the peace it brings to you and those around you!

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