Aug 29, 2018 | by Cindy Sullivan
For most people, how to fit everything into their day or week is at the top of their priority list when it comes to time management. How can we better tackle the mountain of projects, tasks, and responsibilities while still trying to fit in time for leisure and downtime? Unfortunately, it's often our personal time or goals that gets sacrificed at the altar of "trying to get it ALL done". So, the question remains - - Just HOW do we make it all fit?? Consider these:
•Think about it differently. The mental picture we often get when trying to figure out how to pack everything in is to think about an overloaded suitcase. We just need to put more weight on top of it, poke things back in that are hanging out the sides, and pray it doesn't pop open and spill all the contents. But, what if we considered a NEW mental picture - - fitting together the pieces of a puzzle. Time doesn't become about force and a hope we can keep it all together - it becomes about strategy, building something with the right pieces, and knowing what picture we are setting out to create.
•Take out what doesn't need to be there. Like any organizational project, you start with a look at what you currently have and really question why it's there. Be brutally honest with yourself. Are there things that are no longer priorities? Do bad habits end up costing you time each day? Are there things that used to be important that no longer serve a purpose or could be adapted to be more useful?
•Think about how you structure your time. It's really about HOW to make it all fit. Be strategic When do you focus best - - and are you using that time to do those things that require concentration? Where are the inefficiencies in your schedule -- where do you lose time with clunky scheduling, no set routines for those things you do regularly, could tasks or errands be grouped together? Where could you improve skills so that you can do things more quickly. What activities could be given a "home" in your schedule so that you know when you will be working on that activity and therefore when you don't need to be working on that activity? And another often overlooked option - - what could someone else be doing?
•Lose the "all or nothing" mentality. Don't underestimate the power of working on things in small, regular steps. Putting things aside until you have the time to do them completely - or perfectly - may mean it gets pushed aside indefinitely or until there's a looming deadline. Plus, you are carrying around the knowledge that it still needs to get done (and perhaps guilt about procrastinating as well). If you can tackle activities one step at a time - even in 15-20 minute increments a day, at the end of the week, you'd have dedicated a significant amount of time that you might not have otherwise squeezed into your schedule.
•Plan the "Big Rocks". Steven Covey shares the concept that if you fit the Big Rocks - priorities - into your schedule first then the other smaller tasks, items, and details, will filter in and around those big rocks. And he's right! Yet, it seems the most counter-intuitive thing to do when there are masses of other tasks and activities that seem to clamor for your time. Are there things that are immensely important to you but you don't take time for? Projects or goals you want to achieve but are waiting to finish all the other "stuff" before you get started? Remember, if you don't take time to care for YOU....who will? Down time is important and if you don't take time for it, you'll eventually default to a place where you focus on nothing important or urgent because you simply don't have the mental or physical energy after dealing with crisis all day. Instead of filling the day from the bottom up - with the small stuff on the bottom and only adding the bigger rocks on top, you may never get to those priorities. The good news is, if you focus on the important stuff first, the things that may fall off or not get your attention will usually be the lower priorities anyway.
So, stop sitting on the suitcase! Opt to build a better picture - one that is your own design - one puzzle piece at a time.
Cindy B Sullivan provides consulting, coaching, speaking and training in the areas of Time Management and Productivity. Take her 6 Pillars of Effective Time Management assessment to find out where you can work to hone your time management skills. Free phone consultations are available. www.cbSullivanConsulting.com Email: cindy@cbSullivanConsulting.com or call 615-406-5436 today to schedule!