I have been all kinds of busy. Busy doing a bunch of nothing and busy meeting deadlines and getting children to extracurricular activities. Taking a look at both ends of the busy spectrum, I thought it would be good to pen some helpful thoughts here for you just in case you found yourself on one end.
The hustle and bustle of being a corporate “baddie”, stay-at-home mom, small business owner, or the one who always is the designated planner for the friend group can eat away at some good time and leave you feeling stressed. How well would you say you are managing your current schedule? Do you ever feel like you need more hours of the day to get your important things done? Are you taking on too much? Let’s explore how you may be able to add more productive time to your day.
Busyness vs. Productive
One of the first things to explore when trying to get a grasp on your schedule is to evaluate where your current time is going. Are you busy doing a lot of small tasks that hold no priority or are you overcommitted with tasks overlapping that have deadlines attached? Friend, just because a schedule is busy does not mean that the schedule is productive.
There are some tasks that we are not able to avoid such as tending to children’s busy schedules, heavy workload, or starting a small business in the evenings and on weekends. Then there are some tasks that we can rearrange to allow us to be more productive (i.e. Scrolling through social media for long periods, binge-watching tv shows, excessively socializing, and joining every committee that has a sign-up sheet).
If you have not started to prioritize your tasks, then now is a great time to do so. I am a lister and listing things is not for everyone I understand that, however, I do suggest that you download your running list of things down on paper or in your notes section of your phone so that it will not overcrowd your thoughts and result in overwhelm.
When you list all of your tasks, give them a number based on priority. In reviewing your number list, identify tasks that are the most important of them all and tackle them right away. This approach has been coined by productivity author, Brian Tracy, as “eating the frog”. Once you complete the biggest task, you may feel good about conquering the task and be geared up to go after the following tasks.
Don’t Say Yes to Everything
With your willingness to do and your creative nature, it is hard to say no to those who call on you to serve on committees, lead various projects, attend meetings and parties, and so on. Make your schedule your personal assistant and block off the time that you will need to complete the big tasks you are responsible for. Friend, if your candle is lit on both ends, there will be no light, no shine. Simply put, do not overcommit yourself. To avoid burnout, turn down additional tasks that will not serve you and by doing so, you can create more time to focus on you and the things that you need to get done. It is okay to say “No.”. (repeat that 3x)
Schedule and Plan
There really is no other way of organizing your time than planning and scheduling. Whether you use a digital planning system or a paper-bound planner, it will be beneficial to you to utilize your calendar and plug in important dates and times so you can regularly see what you have on your plate.
As obligations arise, make note of them and create your plan of action so that you will not have a load of projects and tasks hit you at the last minute. If you are serious about adding more time to your schedule, you will plan well.
Uh…uh Get Somebody Else to Do It (If you are on TikTok, then you know where this saying comes from. LOL)
The professional Sub-Title is: Delegate and Ask for Help
There is nothing wrong with asking for help if it can be used. If you have any form of support or team that you work with, carefully assess their skills and delegate tasks. This can also help build someone’s skills in a certain area. Also, when you are looking at specific tasks, check to see if there are some things on your list that may not even require you to complete them. If you spot them, cross them off of the list and carry on.
Give yourself grace
The key is to avoid burnout and overwhelm. No matter how big your most important tasks are, tackling it head-on without breaks or at the last minute will not do you any good. Break your tasks up into smaller tasks and spread them out over a period of time. The end goal is completion.