Let’s recap what you have done so far
If you have followed my recommendations in part 1 of my “Get rid of the overwhelm” series (read them here) you should now have reconnected yourself to what is most important to you. You should also have started implementing some vital self-care moments in your life, and you are regularly reminding yourself that you don’t need to be wonder woman!
What are your various roles in life?
We all wear multiple hats. We can be a mother, a lover, a colleague, a business owner, a friend, etc. Step back and reflect: what do these roles mean to you? Which ones are most important? Once you’ve answered those questions, set a clear goal for each of them. Once more, the objective is for you always to be connected to what is most important to you.
What should you be focusing on?
In case you did not notice, there are 1440 minutes in a day, and that is the same for all of us. 1440 and not 1441. So guess what? If you want to add a minute, you need to take out another one; it is that simple!
What you have to do though is know what to focus on first.
In order to do that let’s first look at the meaning of the words important and urgent. I’m conscious that there are several official meanings but, in essence:
Urgent is something that requires immediate action whereas Important is something that requires serious attention because of the nature of the consequences if you don’t.
Step 1: Sort it by category
Let’s now go a bit further and look at all you have to do. I already see you shrink… the thought of it only stresses you out completely!
Take a deep breath! No one said you had to do it all (well some may have told you you should, but that simply isn’t true). What I will now ask you do to is to sort all items into four categories.
1) Everything that is Urgent & Important
2) Everything that is Important
3) Everything that is Urgent
4) Everything that is not Urgent nor Important
Be conscious that the things that fall under category 1 and 2 are usually things that you are responsible of whereas the nature of items listed under categories 3 and 4 is such that you can delegate them.
Example: It is your responsibility to write a proposal for a client (i.e. it is important). Once you’ve done it, the fact that the clients now needs to receive it urgently by Fedex (or so) is something that you can delegate to someone else.
If you are unsure what category applies, ask yourself: “What would happen if I don’t take care of it?” You will be very surprised how often nothing would happen at all!
Step 2: How much time do you need to work on it?
You have split your to-do list into four categories. You will, of course, be focusing first on category 1 (without forgetting category 2, or you might turn some of those items into category 1 items by lack of attention). Now evaluate ( realistically) the time needed for each topic.
Tip: According to Parkinson’s law “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. The more time you will give it, the more time you will need: set a time limit.
Step 3: Decide what you will work on based on the available time you have.
Step 4: Block it on your calendar!
Step 5: Give your undivided attention to the task at hand
According to Carlson’s law our brain needs time to become fully concentrated on a topic. Each interruption, therefore, means returning to square one: loss of time, energy, and efficiency!
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