Code Black:”When there are more patients than resources.” (According to CBS Drama, “Code Black”)

What do you do when you feel like your life is in “code black”?  When you have soooooooooooo much to do, and not enough time to do it all?

What do you do when getting up earlier and going to bed later just isn’t going to cut it?

What do you do when working weekends still doesn’t give you enough time to get it all done?

I know, you’re thinking, “Seriously, Lisa, this is my LIFE!  If you could solve this . . . well, life would be perfect!”

Now, sometimes this “code black” situation happens because it is the “perfect storm” … a number of projects all hitting at the same time. Or, an assistant is ill and it’s your busiest time of the year. Sometimes “code black” sneaks up on us. You added one thing to your schedule, then another, then another … until you just couldn’t add anymore!

I can’t solve this FOR you – however, I can give you some recommendations.

[su_youtube url=”″ width=”360″ height=”280″]

Attack this “code black” scenario on two fronts.

First, the short-term strategy.

  • Write down everything that you need to get done.  Don’t worry about putting it into order.  Don’t worry about when it’s due.  Don’t worry about whether it’s business or personal.  Just write it down. (Here’s a gift for you that can help you with this – my free Parking Lot.)
  • Next, put a star next to everything that HAS to be finished in the next determined time frame. (For example, if you are busier now based on Valentine’s Day, star everything that needs to be finished before 2/14. If your assistant is sick, star everything that needs to be finished before he is back to work. If you have a HUGE project due in 2 weeks, star everything that needs to be completed before 2 weeks.)
  • Then, ignore the rest of the list and only work on those tasks that you starred.
[Tweet “Write all your tasks down on a “parking lot” to avoid overwhelm.”]

Now, I’m not advocating working entirely by a deadline driven task list. However, when you are in the “code black” time you CANNOT complete everything. Save your sanity and reduce your stress by identifying what needs to be completed NOW and what can be pushed off a bit.

Now, for the long term strategy.

  • FIRST – CREATE a LASER FOCUSED VISION! Pick one area of your vision and carve out time to really focus and think!
  • SECOND – Get clear on reality! Make a list of everything you did today and yesterday, how you really spend your time.
  • THIRD – DITCH the GARBAGE! Next make plans to remove those activities that are GOOD but not GREAT.  Create deadlines, think about resources, and move forward.
  • FOURTH – Insert the AWESOME! This is my favorite step – start scheduling in activities that will support you in accomplishing your goals.
  • FINALLY – Keep going in the chaos! Your schedule didn’t get this Crazy Busy on purpose. One way to stay on track is to schedule 15 minute appointments EVERY week to evaluate your progress – and stick to it!

Living in “code black” every day (or even ONE DAY) is tough. You feel stressed, overwhelmed, and out-of-control. And living in that adrenaline-filled state is bad for your physical and emotional well-being! I’ve given you some tools, now USE them and never live in Code Black again.

Now it’s your turn. What sends you into Code Black? What have you used to stop the stress? Share and help someone else!

Don’t forget to download your Parking Lot. Write everything down, star what’s most important right now.


(Image credit Stuart Miles)