There are days when you wake at 4am. You don’t know what woke you up, but you’re cursing it.
Now your brain has started ticking. Running through your to-do list, thinking about the things you didn’t get done yesterday, and everything you want to achieve today.
You finally give up on trying to get back to sleep, and get up at 5:30. You are already feeling overwhelmed at everything that is on your plate for the day. So you just launch into it… to relieve some of the pressure your feeling.
“Bzzzzzzz!” … wrong move
Can you believe it? By 5:32am you’ve already gone wrong!
Let me tell you why MOST women, when they are MOST under the pump, manage to make their ‘to-do’ list longer rather than shorter.
As women, we are pulled in many directions, and not always towards something fruitful!
Our brains play a daily game of Twister. We turn ourselves inside out trying to maneuver our family responsibilities, life administration, and work demands into one epic gymnastics move.
And when we do get to the end… no one is there applauding.
It’s just another day in the life of you (and me!)
But here’s what you can control
So your to-do list is large.
Aside from weeping into your morning latte, practically speaking there are two things you can do about that…
1/ Get better at saying no (ultimately, this will make the biggest difference. But you can’t turn back the clock, right?)
2/ Manage what’s on there more effectively and realistically.
Today I want to give you a little insight into some of my tools for ways to cope with what’s on your plate from the perspective of energy management, not task management.
I guess at this point, it is helpful to say, it is probably worth taking at least a week long view on your to do list. Much like a budget, it does help if you have a little reserve time up your sleeve to get ahead of yourself. That way you can make the most of the energy ups and downs that inevitably occur in a week.
Having said that if you are standing there right now staring down the barrel of an extensive “to-do” list today, then all of what I am about to teach you still applies for today.
So, grab a cuppa, and your to-do list, and let’s get started!
Here are my top 4 reasons you are going wrong with your to-do list management:
- You brain dump and you prioritize your list by numbering only.
- When you get interrupted you spend 10 mins going back over the list re-prioritising again, and working out where you were up to and wasting energy.
- You give too much attention to the squeakiest wheel on the list (which isn’t always the most important!)
- You don’t have a clear delineation method to where an email response turns into a new task in its own right.
How to do things differently? Well, there are two simple steps you can take to knock that list into shape.
Step one is exactly the same: dump everything down on paper, so you can see what’s in front of you.
It’s what comes next that makes the difference…
#1 Don’t prioritise by number only, get some Alpha action in there!
So you’ve brain-dumped the list. Instead of starting with numbers, start with letters. Mine go like this:
A= Absolutely has to be done today
B = Bloody nice if it did get done
C= Let’s See if does or it doesn’t.
Then let’s get our numbers on!
Number the A’s from 1-100 (or however many there are…)
And do the same with your Bs and your Cs.
So when the baby cries, the staff member has a meltdown, or someone else’s priorities get in the way of yours for a minute, you can easily go back to where the list was left. I guess it’s like remembering where you parked the car in the multi-level parking lot!
And at the end of the day, you can applaud yourself (we already know no one else will!)
Because unless you’re being completely unrealistic with yourself, chances are, you got through at least the A list.
And that was what HAD to be done right!?
#2 Quieting the squeaky wheels
A task list prioritised the way I am talking about here, allows you to get serious clarity, within 10 minutes at the start of a day.
So when you find yourself spending more than 5 minutes on an email response. Or when you find yourself on the phone answering your husband’s long-winded business questions. Or when you realize that going through the life insurance application form is going to take 5 hours not 5 minutes.
You look at your highly categorised priority list, and say to yourself… “where does this fit on here?”.
If it’s in the A group, keep doing it.
But if it’s on the C list and you haven’t even started the A list…It’s worth telling that “squeaky wheel” you need to put them on the priority list.
If you don’t, I can already tell that you will be awake again at 5:30am tomorrow in a silent panic.
I don’t want to see you back here early tomorrow morning! Get prioritising ladies!
Is it time you got on top of your time?
If you’d love to find out more about our very different approach to managing time and energy, take a look at Frantic to Fruitful. It’s our free workshop on making the most of your time, and discovering WHY life gets so busy plus some practical ways to take back your time.
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