I was talking to a friend about time management the other day. He was telling me that he has so many alarms attached to all his tasks and appointments that when they ring, he actually doesn’t take any notice of them, mmmm. Before I had time to say anything, he made the pertinent comment himself, “you know, Janice, that really doesn’t serve me!”
It made me think… how many of us pile all our tasks regardless of time frame and priority onto a calendar or one massive to-do list?
The golden rule of time management is that the calendar is sacred, only definite time specific appointments and commitments should go on there.If this is not the case then you won’t be able to trust your calendar and you will begin to feel stressed as you experience the illusion of your day being completely “crowded out”.
In the same way, make sure your daily to-do list is just that – a list of things you plan to do that day and can realistically achieve.
Here is a great tip for getting organised and really feeling in control of your tasks: Make different lists for tasks that have to be completed with different time frames.
- Use a calendar for only TIME SPECIFIC commitments
- Use a daily to-do list for tasks you intend to complete that day
- Make a weekly to-do list
- Make a monthly to-do list
- Make a “some-day” list for actions that don’t have short term priority
The key is to move your tasks forward from monthly to weekly to daily lists so it’s YOU who is in control of your lists instead of the other way round. Now you might say that this seems like a lot of work (and lists!) but once you get into the habit of reviewing your tasks according to time frame and only selecting the necessary ones for a particular day, you’ll soon experience the feeling of space and control that we’re all seeking when it comes to time management. And it feels so satisfying to see all (or nearly all) the tasks ticked off as completed at the end of the day. We’re not worried or stressed about the other tasks scheduled for that week as they are not on today’s list!
When I’m out training for the day there is hardly anything on my daily list as I know I won’t be able to complete any tasks other than deliver the training I’ve been contracted to do. This really leaves me focused to concentrate on the training and I come to my next days list feeling refreshed and in control. Try it!