Recently I had the pleasure to listen to a presentation by JoAnne Ward, who is a Certified Compass Life Coach. She inspired me with a lot of what she was saying and then I heard something that I have said before come out of her lips and I was thrilled. She said, "Are you Should'ing Yourself?" and I grinned. Have you ever "Shoulded" yourself? By that I mean do you have a list of things that you feel you should do yet perhaps aren't getting around to all of them for lack of time and energy?
Well, having a list of things to do is fine, if they are things that you really want and are inline with your personal and professional goals.
Yet time and time again I meet people that not only have their list of valid shoulds, yet a whole other list that was either given to them by others or consists of things they just took on without giving much thought to the value or whether or not they really need or have time to do them.
Running around, trying to get everything done without having a clear vision of why they are doing what they do. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious about not having enough time to get everything done. Unclear about priorities and deadlines and just keeping it all inside them, trying to remember everything.
Let me ask you, do you find yourself here? Can you relate? Do you have a seemingly endless list and are you wondering just how much of it is really yours? Want to find a way to help get your priorities in order?
The cure starts with the "BRAIN DUMP" and ends with taking action. Let me explain...
1. What you need to do first is write out everything on your list. All your errands, all the calls you need to make, the appointments you have set, the household chores, the reading you promised you would do, the studying etc.
2. Now go through the list and see if there is anything on this list that you really don't need to do. Is there a value to doing it, will it bring you closer to your dreams? If the answer is no, consider crossing it off. Like I said, "Don't let people Should all over you" and like JoAnne said "Don't Should yourself?"
3. You can also go through the list at this time to see if there are anything's on that list that can be delegated to a family member, friend or co-worker. Who said you need to go it alone? Use the resources available to you when ever you can. When delegating though, be sure to be clear and realistic about expectations and make sure the person or team you delegate too understands what these expectations are. They to have to schedule the work and manage their tasks.
4. Now, an important step in making you're your plan your tasks effectively is timing them. So when you're done with deleting and delegating write down the time you feel it will take to do each task you have left.
Now here is where it can be tricky because many people misjudge time. Generally if we hate doing a task it always seems much longer. On the other side when we have on our list something we enjoy we tend to think it will go faster. This almost never fails.
The best advice I have is when putting down the times think about each step in the process of completing the task. If you think it will take 10 minutes to go to mall and shop, think again. Factor time to get ready, drive, park, walk to store, make purchase, drive back etc.
5. Now that you have your list and you know how much time things will take realistically, now go to your day planner and schedule the tasks in it. Group similar tasks together to save time. Like a closet where all the shoes have a section, so too should your phone calls, and so on. This tip will make planning your time easier and tasks more manageable.
It is at this point that many will start to see the reality of the situation they may be in. For those that truly have too much to do you may find that you can't fit everything in. If this happens, don't panic! Now is the time to go back to your list. Take another look and see if there is anything left to cut, anything left to delegate, even to a hired hand, and anything that can be deferred to a later date.
Perhaps still there may be a few items that can be trimmed off. Check again and be ruthless. Think about your needs and what is truly important to your personal and professional goals. Remember, cross off the "Should's" that aren't yours.
The moral here is taking care of what needs to happen to get you closer to your dreams. Give up on trying to do everything perfectly and pleasing everyone. In my opinion this is not a healthy way to live. Try to narrow your focus to what matters instead.
If what I wrote makes sense to you yet you need some help applying this principal, planning your goals and learning time management tricks, I can help. On top of organizing spaces and file systems I also enjoy helping to clear cluttered schedules.