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One Simple Tool For Overcoming Overwhelm at Work as a Woman in Leadership

One Simple Tool For Overcoming Overwhelm at Work as a Woman in Leadership

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burned out in your leadership role, it might be that you have too many open loops.

Open loops are things that aren’t finished, aren’t done. Are waiting on approval. Have been pushed off to be decided.

You might also have open loops at home…. What are the plans for the kids for the summer? Do we need to look into that medical issue? Which home problem do we fix first?

According to productivity expert David Allen, open loops—even if you’re not consciously thinking about them—exert a drag effect on your brain. A portion of your brain is constantly thinking about them—stealing your focus from creative insights and life enjoyment.

And if you’re a high performing woman, you likely got here in your career because you were so good at getting things done. You built your success on closing open loops.

But now life and work is more complicated. Your work isn’t just a set of tasks to cross off that someone assigned you.

Your old methods and skills don’t work.

There are lots of ways I work with my clients to deal with open loops. From influence techniques, to management techniques that build autonomy. To building low-friction systems, to lowering standards that don’t move the needle.

But one of the things you can do right now, that doesn’t require anyone else to be involved, is to close a few open loops yourself.

image of calendar - closing open loops

I have a checkin process in which I ask myself weekly:

“What will I finish this week?”

Finish doesn’t always mean doing it myself. Sometimes it means handing over the project and decisions to my assistant. Or making a decision to decide not to do something.

At the heart, it’s about closing open loops.

Taking things off my mental plate so I can be more present, more creative, and more in love with life and work.

Curious about other tools for closing open loops and regaining your mental space and sanity? Check out my free masterclass: Take Back Your Time. You’ll walk away with strategies and tools to work less and leave work at work, while achieving more that advances your career.

Hi I'm Maya

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.