‘I’m crazy busy’ seems to be the modern catch cry. Try these simple strategies to manage your time. There are no surprises here – time is a fixed entity, but the good news is that you have plenty of power of over how you conceive it and parcel it out.
1. Use the 4 Ds:
- Do it now – it is important and it must be done by you.
- Defer it – you need to do it, but it can wait. Schedule it
- Delegate it – it is important, but someone else can do
it. Give yourself permission to use this one!
- Dump it – it actually doesn’t need to be done.
2. Don’t dis the to-do list.
The simple act of writing it down helps you process
what’s important and what’s unnecessary, and frees
up mental energy to actually get things done.
3. Manage distractions.
Focus just on the task at hand. If something important
comes to mind, write it down.
4. Manage your energy.
If you’re surrounded by half-completed tasks,
you might find that this drains your energy for the
important stuff. I think of incompletions as punctures
in a hose, dissipating the flow of water from where
I want to direct it. We’ve got to plug up those leaks
of unfinished business to be effective in dealing with
the important things. Identify your incompletions, take
action on what you can see through to the end and
then relish deleting it from your list. Alternatively, if I
am feeling stuck or caught in procrastination,
I work on the most inspiring thing on my list to get
the energy flowing, and then I return to the item that
is most pressing. Know when it’s time to take a break
despite the temptation to plough on. Remind yourself
that taking a moment to replenish can enhance your
productivity and effectiveness.
5. Plan your time.
If need be, make an appointment with yourself. Do
nothing but that particular task for the allotted time.
6. Make peace with imperfection.
Identify what needs to be done to the best of your
ability and other bits that you can get away with.
Acknowledge that you don’t have to do everything to
the best of your ability. Is it more important to get this
one thing done perfectly, or is it better to be on top of
all your tasks to a slightly lower standard?
7. Avoid taking on too much.
There is only so much time available, so manage your
commitments to avoid stress and overwhelm. Where
appropriate, remember you can say ‘no’. Beware of
becoming addicted to ‘busyness’. Doing more doesn’t
always mean you are being productive.
8. Remember to prioritize.
Recognize if you’re finding it hard to squeeze
everything into your week, especially if it is you that
keeps on missing out. Say to yourself: ‘I have all the
time I need’. Feel the space this mantra creates and
relax into it. Maybe it will help refine your idea of what
actually needs to be done.
More self-care tips in Suzy Reading’s The Self-Care Revolution.