Finding time to complete the items on your to-do list is an ongoing challenge. Sometimes those lists become so challenging in and of themselves that we want to avoid them … and that’s not a good idea!
Have you run into problems with managing these lists for yourself? I have a friend who jots ideas and tasks on scraps of paper and sticky notes, putting them in her date book as the day goes on. she captures a lot of material that way, but, as you can probably imagine, by the end of most days that date book looks like it’s filled with confetti! Sometimes the notes fall out, or get covered by other notes.
So, yes, it’s a challenge to keep up with it all.
That’s why I encourage any and everyone to take time — even just five minutes — at the beginning and end of the day, to plan, prioritize/consolidate, and review your list (or lists).
Each piece of this process is important, so let’s focus on each separately with these 3 Powerful Time Tips:
Finding time to plan is like scanning the landscape from up in the air. You need to get the lay of the land, note any barriers, and decide on your route. Really, what you’re determining is how you’re going to travel through your day. This is the most important part of your process – without it you’ll be embarking on your journey without a compass– and I guarantee, you’re going to get lost!
When you’re navigating your day, it’s really important to know where you’re starting, where you want to end up, and the major intersections and turning points along the way.
Having a plan doesn’t mean that there won’t be a need to make changes as the day unfolds. It simply gives you a map. Ideally your map will include alternate routes for any unforeseen contingencies. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail about those routes, but it’s important (and reassuring) to know that they’re there.
And don’t forget the “Times 2 Rule” when you plan! No matter what the task, it’s good to assume that it will take at least twice as long as you predict. (And what a gift to yourself, if you end up with a little extra time at the end of the day!)
Finding time to prioritize and consolidate your tasks is another very helpful time management skill to develop. Again, you needn’t spend a lot of time on this. As you look at your plan for the day or your To Do List, highlight the three tasks that you absolutely want to accomplish on this day.
Also, if you’ve got any tasks that can easily be put together, be sure to connect them. This might include things like errands that involve stops close to one another, putting all of your computer-related tasks in the same time slot, etc.
And if you maintain your To Do List or Daily Plan on a computer you can rearrange your tasks as you consolidate and create your priorities. Having a clean list makes things a little easier and less stressful for yourself.
Last but not least, finding time to review at the end of the day is very important! It gives you an opportunity to tweak your to do list for the next day, adjust your priorities, reflect on any lessons learned, and let go of it all as you head to bed.
Letting go is a wonderful gift that this process allows you to give yourself. As your head hits the pillow, you can release any worries that you might be carrying, knowing that they are on your list and will be addressed in the morning. Your sleep will be more restful, and you’ll have more energy as your day begins!© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.