Juggling: The Art of Time Management
Instead of Time Management, the trend is to call it Task Management, or Choice Management or even Priority Management. I still call it Time Management because you probably have an idea of what I'm talking about when I say it. But I also describe Time Management as an art form.
You have to get creative and though your system may be perfect for you, your time management system won't work for me. And your best friend's system probably won't work for you. You have to make the systems and strategies your own. You may have to tweak things a bit. You have to create a system that works for you, and that system may contain parts and pieces from several time management systems you've tried before.
Whatever your time management tools, systems, and strategies are, here are six key things to remember:
(#1) Your to-do list is a tool. Your list is just a tool to help you get those tasks and reminders out of your head and onto paper or electronic format. It's a collection system. So that when you're in a location to take action you have a better chance of knowing what action you intended to take. Your list is NOT a judge of what you should be doing tomorrow, of how well you did yesterday, or of what you should do now. It is a repository or collection of random actions to take that may or may not be in order of priority. You will need to look at your list and choose what's next. And what's next after that. You have to determine priority.
(#2) Put your ONE Thing on your schedule first. Your ONE Thing could be writing a book (as mine is), running a 5K, building your business, or learning piano. Organizing your closet or going through your papers is not your one thing. Organizing is something that will probably make your ONE Thing easier to accomplish and enjoy, but it is not your ultimate goal. Don't put off getting and staying organized, but your ONE Thing gets on your schedule first.
(#3) Choose your priorities. As I said at the beginning, it's not really time management but rather task and choice management. What are you choosing to do with your time? What tasks take priority over others? Which actions are supporting your ONE Thing? You will need to look at your schedule, your task list (aka to-do list) and your projects and determine your priorities. This is where the juggling comes in. You get to decide which balls you keep in the air today. You get to decide what is ignored or sacrificed. You cannot do it all, but you can choose what's most important.
(#4) Estimate the time the task will take. On a list 'take out the trash' takes up as much space on your list as does 'write the introduction for book,' but the time each task will take is different. Estimating the time it will take you to complete a task or a project is important so that you can set reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish today (and tomorrow).
(#5) Put yourself back on your priority list. Look at your task list and your scheduled. Where are you? If you aren't on your own priority list, start adding your self-care back in. When will you go for that walk? When will you meet a friend for coffee? When will you get that massage you've been wishing for? When's your next vacation? Or your next retreat? These breaks and time you spend taking care of yourself make you more productive, so take them!
(#6) Say No. Say 'not now.' Say 'I quit.' Say 'Yes!' to GREAT opportunities and 'no' to the ones that are only good. Say 'YES' to you and your dreams. Say 'no' to being side tracked. Take time to evaluate what you really want, what your ONE Thing is and then say 'no' to all opportunities that aren't supporting that ONE Thing. Say 'I won't.'
And just for fun...