We are all juggling so much, and we each have the same 24 hours each day. One of the ways we suffer is that we have so much on our plates that we can easily get overwhelmed, and we forget that we have control over how to structure our days around the most important things that we need/want to make happen in our lives. It comes down to prioritizing our day ahead of time (ideally the day or night before) — so that we make progress on just the three or four things that are most important to us. When we accomplish those tasks we feel great.
Then there are the things that we need to make happen but that we don’t want to do or that don’t light us up. Those are tasks we tend to procrastinate around and push off for another day/week/month/year.
I recommend the following approach…
- Make a habit of the things you want to do daily (like exercising or making a green smoothie) that you’ll just do on autopilot first thing so your brain doesn’t have to think about them — that starts with a commitment!
- Set yourself up to only check e-mails a couple of times a day vs responding to every ping and losing your focus.
- The day/night before, jot down the three to four most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow, and prioritize them in the order of their importance. The next day, focus fully on the first task and work until it’s completed before moving on to the second task, and so on. At the end of the day, rinse and repeat, moving any unfinished items from that day to the top of your list for the next day until they’re completed, and keep going.
- Build into your schedule allocated time for interruptions and distractions so they don’t throw you off (you know they’re going to happen so make room and allow for them).
- Delegate tasks that you need to take care of but aren’t a good use of your time/energy/talents vs postponing them. In the words of one of my mentors, best-selling author and coach Alan Cohen, “if it’s not fun, hire it done”;
When you take care of the things that you want/need to do on a regular basis, you automatically improve your sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and confidence — and you’re generally happier and lighter on your feet. Try it!!