How are you going to get everything done in a day?
Perhaps more to the point, ‘How are you able to go to sleep at night, wondering and worrying, “Did I get it all done?”
You may be thinking: there are many books, seminars and systems out there about time management and efficiency, why are we still talking about this? And yet, aren’t there days you wonder how the list keeps getting bigger rather than smaller?
From having worked with hundreds of coaching clients, let me tell you one of the biggest obstacles to gaining perspective on this issue is our own high expectations. And I get it. You want to add great value, you don’t want to forget anything, and you have a lot of important people depending on you. So there’s nothing wrong with having high expectations, given their good intentions, as long as they don’t roadblock your greatness.
So, let’s break this down into a few really great tips that will help you sleep at night, knowing you’ve done the best job you possibly can.
- Remember What Works for You
What strategy works for you to keep track of what you need to do? For some, it’s a handwritten to do list. For others, it’s an app. I have clients who use a Bullet Journal. Still others have Assistants who keep track of important things for them. There is no one perfect way – it’s a preference thing. Think of the last time you were feeling on top of things, and go back to that strategy.
Make sure you have your method for remembering important things. I tried an app that another entrepreneur swore by. They showed me and I was impressed! “Look how it organizes my personal and professional tasks! I can open anytime, anywhere and see what you need to do. No wasted time! See here, ‘knife sharpen, renew library books…’” Hey, I have knives that haven’t been sharpened since they were gifted to us as a wedding present 18+ years ago…I need this!
So, I downloaded it, filled up the lists, then proceeded to never look at it. It’s useless for me. Besides not carrying around my knives everywhere I go (you’ll be very glad to know) and countless other things on my list, I never think to review it! I deleted it from my phone (I needed the space!).
The important thing is, what works for you. For me, I’m a list maker. A physical, right in front of me, list maker. I have a pad of sticky notes beside my bed, and a pen. As soon as somethings pop into my head I can write it down and put it to the side. Take it down to my office in the morning, and do it next opportunity. Old school. Retro. And, for me, it works.
- Look at the Big Picture and Smaller Details
Related to that, are you a big picture thinker or are you really detail-oriented?
I’m a big picture thinker. What stresses me out is when I don’t remember the tiny details. My nemesis in a day is when I go from task to task to task, trying to make sure I get it all done. I need to write down the details so I don’t forget them, then check small items off my list. Big stuff I need to blocks chunks of time for (seasonally, in my week…depends on the project). If I get caught in the weeds, I just get stuck.
You have to know what works for you. And don’t judge yourself for whatever your natural preference is. Just find a way to go with it. So you can… Get. Stuff. Done!
- Prioritize Tasks
Understand what are the biggest issues keeping you up at night, and find the strategies that work for you. Keep looking, and keep experimenting.
When I tried the app, then realized it didn’t work for me, I had to go back to my list. Simple as it sounds, I have a list for today, this week, next week and future. Four lists! And on today’s list, I circle the ones I must do first! I star the one that are fast if I just have 10 minutes to get something done. I have a system for prioritizing so I don’t waste even 5 minutes reviewing the list. I just create the list already prioritizing most important and fastest to complete… Then… Just Get. Working.
- Ask for Advice to Refine What Works
So let’s say you know an app works best for you. Put it out there on Facebook community: What apps work for you for time management? What apps work for reducing stress? Somebody will have a great suggestion; someone else will weigh in on that one or offer another idea. Experiment with what they suggest.
If somebody says, “I’ve got a great approach that works for me,” book time in their schedule. Have them walk you through it, because we are not in this alone. If you try to figure it out all on your own, it’s going to take you that much longer. You may feel you are going to have to fail a few times before you do it.
Know someone feeling overwhelmed? Why not share this with them?
I hope that was good value to you. I welcome you to share any comments of your best strategies, too, so we can be in community, building our greatness toolkit together!