I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first? The bad news? Okay:

The real world is a real mess.

Ready for the good news? Okay:

You’re lucky to be alive and well and living in it.

I once had an employee – a manager, actually – who was constantly freaking out about being overworked and under-resourced.

The problem was of her own making. Nobody was pushing her to do more than she could handle. It was all in her head.  

“Just prioritize the important stuff and don’t worry about the other stuff,” I told her repeatedly, adding, “Learn to say, ‘tomorrow is another day.’ Try it, it’ll be a revelation.”

Did she listen? Nope. Did she learn? Nope. And here career topped out exactly where she was, stuck in middle management hell. Go figure.

Look, I get that chaos freaks some people out. As a life-long control freak, believe me, I get it. At this very moment I’ve got more balls up in the air than I can count. Will that stop me from having a fun night and waking up tomorrow, ready to do some more juggling?

What do you think?

I learned long ago to prioritize, focus and when the day is done, say, “tomorrow is another day.” It’s a beautiful thing. And you know what? The important stuff always seems to get done. What happens to the other stuff – the lower priority stuff? It doesn’t get done. And you know what? It never seems to matter.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should live a chaotic life with no rhyme or reason. What I’m saying is that the world is a messy place. And if you want to excel in that mess, you do it by embracing the chaos, being disciplined about your priorities, and treating yourself well when you need to.

Yes, you can do all that. It takes some practice, but you’ll get better at it over time. And guess what? You’ll never feel overworked and overwhelmed again. No kidding.  

Image credit danabooo / flickr