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  • Writer's pictureDavid Tong

9 stepping-stones to a more resilient life. Part 2 - managing

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

A key element of becoming more resilient is to transition from a state where we feel a victim, to one where we feel we have agency to take control. In this blog I have set out three techniques that help us manage the demands upon us.


This is a technique for managing our workload that many of us use already. With a simple tweak we can make it even more effective. Consider segmenting your ‘to do’ list into four quadrants to highlight both the importance and urgency of an issue.

This simple technique is helpful because it highlights some unwanted aspects of the way we plan our work.

Items which are urgent but not important are often prioritised because they represent ‘quick wins’, however this can be a trap because we tackle them first when our mind is rested and fresh - then we leave the important things to a later time when we are tired and ready to stop.

This kind of prioritisation grid can also reveal that important things, like our own self-development and learning, are neglected because they are not urgent. If your work-life consistently prevents you from tackling really important personal priorities, then this may raise a bigger question about whether this situation is sustainable - are the sacrifices you are making worth it or do you need to find another gear?


We can learn to manage not just the demands which others make of us, but those we impose on ourselves. Simply put, pragmatism means – ‘never let great be the enemy of the good’. This can be hard to achieve when you want to give your best, but sometimes we have to adjust our standards and just get the work out of the door. Ask yourself how much extra impact you will get from every extra bit of effort you put in. The law of diminishing returns suggests there is a trade-off to be made here.


Resilience is often a group characteristic not an individual one. So, don’t try to cope in isolation from your team – look first to build the group’s capacity.

When you are under less pressure, this is a good time to build your network with people who may be able to support you in tougher times. Working in a modern, complex organisation means you will not be able to respond to every point of pressure alone – so it is important to have allies to draw on - and then feel confident enough to ask them for help. It is also important to be able connect with someone who you can be really honest with about your work situation; someone who will help you offload the pressure and help you gain some perspective about the situation you are in..

In my next blog I will conclude discussion of this 9 step model by talking about motivation and me.

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