Many people struggle to get everything done. They wish for just a few extra hours a day so they can tick things off the ever-growing to-do list. It doesn’t matter whether they are a stay-at-home parent or top executive, equally they find themselves caught in what I call the ‘urgent trap’ where ‘need-it-by-yesterday tasks’ get in the way of the ‘important stuff’.
You may feel the same...Days get consumed by emails, pressing client requests, children demanding attention (not that I compare the two of course!) instead of spending quality time on the things we need to do to learn, to grow and to develop. This includes connecting with family and friends and ‘me time’ - activities for your own mental health such as playing sport, listening to or playing music, yoga, dance or communing with nature.
We have control over some of the events in our life – but not all. However, you can take control of your life and what you do – you get to say when, where and why. You can decide how much you are going to achieve in a day and how many things you will tick off that to-do list. Get real with yourself, your clients and your family. Don’t be afraid to start saying things will take three days instead of one – yes they may not like the sound of it initially, but the reward for you will far outweigh that initial disappointment for them. Realistically they probably didn’t expect a one-day turn around anyway!
So how do you escape the ‘urgent trap’? It’s simple and it comes down to being really clear about what you want, what you need and plan when and how to achieve it. Before leaving the office, or before crawling into bed, spend 5-10 minutes to plan for the next day. Make it a habit. If you have a plan you will be more motivated and focused.
DON’T check your emails first thing in the morning. You risk getting caught up attending to other people’s urgent requests and before you know it, half the day may have past attending to things that were not on the plan.
DON’T log into Facebook and other social media in the morning either. Use the time when you know you are most productive to work on the more challenging tasks. Schedule time to get important jobs done without interruptions. Let phone calls divert to your voice mail and turn off email notifications. It’s only for a few hours - you can do it! If that scares you too much, think of the consequences of not getting a particular job done. Chances are by not doing it you will be more stressed later in the day/week/month, you will end up doing a rushed job that you’re not proud of AND there is the overriding sense of frustration of not getting it done at all… because you ‘ran out of time’.
ONLY YOU can manage your time. If you don’t have enough of it then set your alarm and get up one hour earlier. Be realistic about what you can do and who you can do it for. I say ‘no’ to others a lot more than I ever used to but that’s ok, it means I get to say ‘yes’ a lot more to myself, my family and my business. I also get to tick the important things off the list too! And when the ‘urgent things’ pop up that are beyond my control (sick children, broken appliances etc.) it’s all a lot less stressful because I know that with good planning I’ve already done the ‘important stuff’ with time up my sleeve to deal with the emergencies.
If you need help planning your life, or you want to outsource some tasks that annoy or frustrate you, contact email@example.com or see our website www.timegenie.co.nz to find out how we can magic up more time for you!
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