Be realistic with my to-do list(s)
Good God I love a list! Sometimes it’s tempting to put everything – every little thing – on my to do list. But is this productive? NO. I find it really disheartening to look at a list knowing I’m never going to tick everything off. There is no need to set yourself up for feeling like a failure, so take another look at that list and be realistic. Things that are major projects deserve their own list, with time-lined action plans, so scoot them off to a different list. Some things might need to be crossed completely off – if that goal is no longer valid and there is no point in doing it, why give it space on a list? Put a line through that baby and cross it off! How good does it feel to get rid of it completely?! I have a few lists going at any one time, and although that sounds confusing, (and suspiciously like someone who needs to be in List Makers Anonymous) it’s actually simplified things a lot. I have a daily list that goes in my diary, for things that must be done today. I have a monthly list in a separate notepad of things that I’d like to do this month, but it’s not necessarily life threatening if I don’t. Then I have separate lists with headings like Blog, Business, House, Garden, that hold the things that I absolutely plan on doing at some stage, but they haven’t quite made it to the level of monthly or daily urgency. Is this too many lists? NO! I like it a lot, it works for me, and it’s fantastic to clarify your thoughts and off load niggly things out of your head. Of course, the danger is that you spend so much time on your list making that there is no time to do anything, but in reality, investing a bit of time into getting organised is worth it in the long run. Think of it as a nod to mental clarity.
Be realistic with my time.
Everyone is only given 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week. Everyone! Sometimes I hear someone say that they will ‘make time’ to do something, and you know what? They can’t! They DO NOT have a magical time machine that creates hours for them! NO ONE can make time. The only thing you can do is manage it the best you can. I look at my diary (I like an old school paper one I carry around, you might like a digital version. It doesn’t matter, as long as you use something) and block out the time that is not negotiable. Exercise, study, work, volunteering, childrens sport, any other commitments should go in. I probably won’t forget them, but putting them in black and white makes me accountable for the time that I have, and then I’m much less likely to waste time disappearing down rabbit holes like facebook . It should be really apparent that the time I do have left over needs to be managed well to fit in all the things I want to achieve. There isn’t likely to be much time, so whatever you have is precious. It’s OK to be selective about what you do with it, and it’s OK to say no to other people trying to take it. Guard your time.
Cut myself some slack.
All this talk about making every minute count tends to make me feel guilty for time spent lolly gagging around, but that time is actually really important for my soul, and needs to be scheduled in so that nothing takes it’s place. If it feeds your spirit to grab a paintbrush or a box of crayons with no planned outcome, or walk on the beach at whatever pace the ocean allows, or wander through some shops with no agenda, then you must do it. This time is an investment in you, your inner calm and your core of strength. If I think back to the times I didn’t allow myself to do this stuff, I remember that those where the times I depleted my inner stores and ran on empty so long I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. Setting objectives and achieving goals is important, but remember to fill your own tank. No one can run on empty, and it’s false economy to think you can. Be kind to yourself.
A goal is a specific thing you want to achieve, and you need to make a plan for how you are going to achieve it. This is where most new years resolutions come unstuck, there is no plan for how to get it done, just a wish thrown drunkenly to the moon at midnight. (I love the woo, but this approach doesn’t even work for me!) I can visualize all I want, but a wish is not the same as doing the work. Break the goal down into actionable steps that you can do every day or week to achieve your outcome. A generic ‘get fitter’ goal is unlikely to be successful, but a ‘Walk every day for 30 minutes’ goal is great. Allocate that time in your diary so it gets done. Are there any resources that you need to gather? (walking shoes, exercise clothes) Is there any information you need to achieve your goal? (local walking tracks?) Are there people you need to give you a helping hand? (a local walking group, a personal trainer?) Great, add all of those things to your diary, and set aside time to get them organised. Remember to be realistic about how much time you can devote to your goal – 30 minutes walking a day is great, but 2 hours is probably not great – for your time management or your legs.
Multitasking, is it for you?
I would say no, it is not. It’s certainly not for me. Sure, there are some things you can do successfully at the same time; folding laundry, drinking wine and watching TV seem to go really well together, but then none of those things take a lot of brain power by themselves, so it’s easy to combine them. It’s up to you to choose what you multitask, my experience is that if I set aside a specific time to do something and devote all of my attention to it, then I have a better chance of completing it and being happy with the outcome. Cooking the dinner and helping the children with the homework? OK, most of the time. Cruising through facebook while working on a deadline? Nope, that is a complete waste of time – I’m better off scheduling time for the work, then scheduling time for social media shenanigans.
What do you think of these 5 tips? Do you think they will be useful to you? What is your best tip for managing time? Do you have a plan to take over the world and do you wish you where superwoman?