How to Deal with Overwhelm as a Leader in the Automotive Industry

As a leader in this industry, it is so easy to feel like time is constantly slipping away from us. Before we know it, the sun starts to go down, our people start heading home, and we still have 5 more tasks to wrap up before we feel like we can call it a night. If this sounds all too familiar to you, check out these tips on how I dealt with overwhelm in my own day-to-day work as a Variable Operations Manager.

Finding the Problem

There are two key pieces to getting to the bottom of what is causing your problem of feeling overwhelmed. The first is to make a list of everything you do in a day while at work. Yes, it sounds tedious, because it is, but I mean track EVERYTHING! Track what the task or event was and how long you were doing it for. This includes work related tasks AS WELL AS chatting with a coworker, taking lunch, stepping out for a cigarette, having an unexpected one-on-one, etc.  

The second step is to identify out of this list the specific issues that came up during the day. What were the frustrations? What felt like it took longer than it should have? What felt like a waste of time all together? As you’re making your total list of the day, highlight these issues when they occur so they stand out amongst your other items. (Check out our free time audit template to give this a try.)

Noticing Patterns

When you do this exercise, you’ll start to realize that the root of your issue will typically fall into two categories: either your employees are creating the issues or you as a leader are not delegating properly.  

Employees Creating Issues

The first thing that might come to mind when you hear employees causing the issues may be that employees just aren’t doing their job or they’re being lazy, but this is typically not the issue at all. In fact, when I say employees creating issues, I mean that employees are following through on processes that are inefficient or simply haven’t been established. A prime example of this would be a sales pro not pulling a car around to the proper location where the technician is supposed to inspect/service it. Then the technician has to spend an extra 20-30 minutes finding the car (keep in mind they're paid off the time working on the car, not the time spent being at work so they are frustrated). This then creates a complaint session with the service director and the service director then complains to the SM/GSM. All that time adds up to several hours wasted because of a lack of process or the follow-through of process.

Issues with Delegation

Issues with delegation stem from you as a leader performing excessive tasks that could be done by other employees. This most often happens because we as leaders don’t want to take the time to explain our process to other people or we don’t think others will complete the task as well as we ourselves can; however, that way of thinking costs us so much time by keeping our tower of tasks too tall. When we look at our list of tasks and honestly decide ‘okay, this is something I need to do,’ or ‘okay, this is something I can pass off to another employee,’ you’ll find you are most likely doing several tasks that take up your day that don’t actually need to be done by you specifically.  

How to Solve Both Employee Created and Delegation Issues

We created an action plan on how you can begin to solve these issues and reduce overwhelm in your day-to-day tasks. Check out our action plan here.

Additional Valuable Resources

Jocko Willink on How to Stop Being Overwhelmed At Work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTiy4rrr6dY

Tim Ferriss on How to Cope with Feeling Unfocused or Overwhelmed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EfustMcNag

Thomas Frank on How to Stop Being Constantly Overwhelmed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f8pBiCS9HQ