Time management tips are quite useless! That is, until you incorporate 2 essential strengths – decisiveness and prioritizing.
What happens when you don’t exercise these 2 muscles? As most of us discover, results are predictable:
- As time races by, you run from one activity to another. In your attempt to “do it all” and avoid regrets, several projects remain half-finished, even the important ones.
- You approach deadlines feeling urgent and stressed. The more you rush, the less you are in the moment. And the more likely you are to make costly, time-consuming mistakes.
- Over time, these issues reduce your confidence in yourself and perpetuate a scarcity mentality. You feel bogged down. What you want hovers just out of reach. Sadly, you may end up blaming yourself or others.
Well, time management is difficult! It is the finiteness of time that makes our moments so precious. And yet, this limit can lead to worries about missed opportunities and painful regrets.
Fortunately, when you develop skills for decisiveness and prioritizing, your level of satisfaction shoots up exponentially. You still can’t do everything, of course. But prioritizing keeps you from sabotaging yourself. And self-esteem rises. The following 3 strategies show you how to build the skills you need.
3 Proven Prioritizing Strategies to Reduce Regrets
Next time you create your daily To Do list:
1. Brainstorm all options you want to consider.
When you write this long list, include whatever comes to mind. Consider it a smorgasbord that displays everything you’d like to pile onto your plate today. Most likely it holds way more than you can manage. Its purpose is to provide an overview you’ll select from.
2. Pare Down Your Long List.
Now you’re ready to explore what will fit on your plate today. Review your long list. Note next to each activity how long you estimate it will take. Run a quick tally – see how many hours you would need to take to complete everything.
Now you have a clear incentive to prioritize! Draw a line through anything you feel will incur few, if any, regrets if left undone at present. Estimate how much time you can allocate to your projects today. This helps make it easier to conduct a second round of cuts.
3. Establish Priorities and Commit to a Short List.
Notice how each stage of decision-making prepares you to make the next round of decisions more easily. Now you can set priorities for what remains on what will become your short list.
Use your time frames to be pragmatic. Highlight any important activity that is time-limited – like meetings or birthdays. When you have assigned priorities, finalize your list by selecting your top 3 time priorities. Notice how much easier it is to focus and be decisive when you work from a list that is short and realistic!
This Becomes Easy With Practice.
If you find this exercise difficult, don’t be discouraged! You are learning how helpful these skills will be as you gradually develop them. Decision-making is, happily, a skill that steadily improves with deliberate practice. The more consistently you review the outcome, day by day, the more effectively you can incorporate lessons that move you forward.
As mentioned, addressing your top 3 time priorities goes a long way in reducing regrets. Furthermore, it feels great to check everything off your short list by the end of the day! And if you still have the time, you can refer back to your long list and complete lower-priority tasks.
Ultimately, the more you support yourself using these tips, the better you know yourself, and the easier prioritizing becomes! Then you can really appreciate the present moment. So ultimately, you find more time while enjoying it more.© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.