Feeling like you need to catch your breath? The beginning of 2019 has certainly gotten off to a fast start. Are you busy or too busy? Feeling overwhelmed or exhilarated? Are you being productive?
To ensure that “busy” doesn’t turn into an energy depletion, too much on your plate, or feeling out of control, try these tips:
Assess your situation
Be aware of how and where you’re spending your time. Answer these questions and make sure you are satisfied. Does your schedule conflict with your priorities?
Are you spending too much or too little time to get things done? What do you do to monitor your to do’s?
How do you set priorities?
Remember the four quadrants in Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? Important, Not Important, Urgent and Not Urgent. Don’t put everything in urgent because when you do it loses its importance. Make a list of your needs. The list might then be affected by due date or whom the response is to. Assess the value. Be flexible.
Be bold. If you can’t take on another task, say ’no.’ By saying ‘yes’ when you would rather say ‘no’ you are saying ‘no’ to yourself because the time has to come from something you are doing. You also don’t want to take on too much and have something fall through the cracks. That is a reflection on you, especially if it happens more than once.
Notice your energy level. It’s great to be busy, but too busy depletes your energy. Ask yourself when you have the most energy in the day and do your hardest or most time-consuming tasks then, so you don’t run out of steam. Choo-choo ahead!
Dealing with Distractions, Multi-tasking, and Clutter
Multi-tasking can be a huge problem. We are expected to multi-task even though our brains are wired to do one task at a time. The reality, unfortunately often, is that in our professional and personal lives we are expected to do several tasks at one time.
Since this is often the reality of the situation, choose three tasks. Then allot time to work on each so that you can go deeper than touching the surface of multiple tasks.
“Too much” gives us a feeling of clutter and that overloads our senses and makes it difficult to focus and manage. Take baby steps and keep moving forward.
Turn off any technology you can, like noises pinging us that another email or text is waiting … it’s too much of a distraction…and, an annoyance.
The constant phone and email interruptions don’t help, and neither do all the meetings we attend. Again, take baby steps forward so that you feel like you’re accomplishing something instead of having that heavy feeling from clutter and overwhelm.
Dealing with Email
Dealing with endless email is a complaint I hear over and over. So it doesn’t turn into clutter, choose several specific times of the day to look at your email. Email can use up a great deal of time. Estimate how long it takes to respond. Generally speaking, a shorter reply is acceptable if you answer sooner.
Here are two ways of thinking. You can answer emails first thing in the morning. Make sure you have the discipline to then move on to something else in a reasonable amount of time. Or, consider doing a couple of tasks first and then going to the email…set a timer on your technology so you don’t lose track of time.
For me this come has into play since my book was published. I love the coaching, speaking engagements, webinars, etc… and it also takes a lot of prep time. I was at that point where I needed assistance with some of the administrative and technical support for my book so that I could work on the client related prep work. Prep work takes a long time. I assessed my situation and decided that I would hire a virtual assistant.
Task Management Systems
If you prefer a task management system there are plenty out there. Find the one that is right for you.
No matter what you decide, it’s important to feel productive. Carry on!