Just chop that wood

We have all been faced with situations where we have felt simply overwhelmed.  For me and my team, we have a perfect recipe for the feeling of overwhelm: being in a business when everything comes to a head in the late summer, when hopefully all the hard work and planning across all departments is on display.  Welcome to turnover.
 
Formerly working at a fast-paced consulting firm gave me plenty of opportunities to attack the feeling of being overwhelmed, and plenty of opportunities to learn what can help make one feel better during the busiest of times.  One of the best tools were simple words from a dear friend.  One day, years ago, I opened up to her about just how much I perceived to be on my shoulders, and how I had so much to do I didn’t even know where to start.  She recounted some advice one of her law school professors had given her: he said as a lawyer she would often feel overwhelmed, and during these times you need to “just chop the wood in front of you”.  I am not a lumberjack, nor have I even done any sort of woodwork, but I continually find this simple advice quite powerful.  Instead of staying in a state of overwhelm I just needed to start chopping, getting through things, one by one, because that’s all I could do. 
 
So now my team members hear me saying this to them all the time…”just chop that wood”.  But if simple words aren’t enough another thing that helps is wearing an “I am very busy” shirt…though a moderate violation of our dress code it’s empowering to just put it all out there and admit things are busy right now.  Happy turnover everyone!