Are we all running out of time?Nov 2017
“Where does the time go?” I hear everyone say. I ask myself the same question on a regular basis.
We’re at that time of year again when the clocks go back and winter is nearly upon us. I wonder if I’ve made the best use of my time this year both personally and professionally?
The world is a busy place, society as a whole is speeding up or at least that’s how it feels. I got told to today that it only 60 days until Christmas and I started to panic. That means only two more pay days, so I’d better get organised, I’m already in a flurry of activity adding more and more tasks to my already arms length of things to do.
So I count up the weeks I have until I can flop on the sofa and start to wind down. I have 8 weeks to go and I notice my heart starts to race. I have so many things I need to achieve before I finish the year. I'd love to be able to tick off my to do’s and start in January with a blank piece of paper with no carry overs from the previous year. That would be pretty good. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
So what is it about time and the pressures surrounding our perceived lack of it?
- Is it that we can’t say no to others requests?
- Is it that we have lost the art of relaxation and so we fill our lives with things to do?
- Is it that our expectations of ourselves and others are higher than they were before?
- Is it due to the increased use of technology making everything instantly accessible?
- Or is it due to the fact that most of us in some way shape or form engage on a regular basis in social media activity?
The list of questions could go on…
We all are given 24 hours in one day, but it's how we spend those hours determines if we're making the best use of our time.
So here is my strategy of how I and perhaps you can get yourself in shape, complete those to do’s and stop stressing about the lack of time.
- Keep it simple. Your To Do list should have NO MORE THAN THREE THINGS on it for a given day. Some of the most highly successful people I know only allow ONE ITEM on their To Do list each day.
- Write your To Do list the night before. This helps you start your day with clarity. You know exactly which item you need to complete by 10am the next morning.
- Tackle the first item on your list first thing in the morning when you are fresh. Now that you’ve effectively prioritised your To Do list, you need to get the biggest, most important task completed before moving on to anything else. It’s important to be proactive rather than reactive. You need to make yourself and your goals a priority. This starts by completing your most high level, strategic action FIRST, before checking your email or responding to phone calls or other requests.
- If you have a hard time limiting your To Do list to a maximum of three items, or your mind keeps wandering off thinking about all the other things you “need to do,” I recommend doing a mind dump. Take five minutes, no more, and write down every single thing you can think of that you need to do in the next week. This can be personal or professional. Write it all down just to get it out of your head. Then put that list away. This is NOT your To Do list. This is a data dump, an information release.
- Sometimes small is big. Be strategic about your energy. Occasionally, a small and menial task that isn’t highly strategic will start to take up an incredible amount of mind space. Maybe you haven’t put this item on your To Do list because it’s not one of the three most important tasks to do, but over time, you notice yourself thinking about this one small, annoying thing because it’s really bothering you. If so, put that item on your To Do list for tomorrow. And DO IT. You will discover a new source of energy to apply to the next strategic item on your To Do list.
DO IT NOW! Don't procrastinate or feel overwhelmed with your to do lists, if you follow these five steps, you will increase your productivity while decreasing your negative mind chatter about having no time!