Are you always “too busy” to get things done?
Dictionary.com defines busyness as “lively but meaningless activity”. One thing I notice is when people talk about how “busy” they are. “I’m too busy to go to lunch” or “I’m to busy to workout” or “I’m too busy to take time to find out why I’m too busy all the time.”
Who do you know who fits this description:
- Miss appointments,
- Forget important dates,
- Lose their keys or wallet,
- Run out of gas,
- Never have time to grab lunch or dinner,
- They go to bed feeling like they didn’t accomplish anything of importance.
You probably know them, or maybe you ARE that person. What can you do? Many people don’t know how to get ahead of the 8 ball, because they don’t take time to plan. I believe that they really ARE busy, but are they busy doing the things that make a difference, or are the “in the weeds”?
Getting out of the weeds
There is no magic bullet cure for being too busy. I challenge you to start a weekly practice with these 3 steps:
1. MAKE A LIST
Imagine this. Sitting down for 15-30 minutes on a Sunday night, with a crayon and a Big Chief tablet. OK, how about a pen and piece of paper? (Please, please please, don’t do this on your smart phone, tablet or computer. There is tons of research that confirms the importance of manually writing vs. typing)
First of all, during this 15-30 minutes, you’ll write down everything you can that is on your mental “to-do” list. It might be a bit painful the first time, but trust me, you’ll feel great at the end. If you want, have 2 columns, one for personal and one for professional to-dos. Squeeze everything you can out of your brain and put it on paper!
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR LIST
NOW we get to have fun. Take out whatever tool you use to schedule your tasks, projects and meetings. Need one? Check out the MONAPLANNER . Let’s use the simple A, B and C categories.
- A’s are urgent and you have to get them done today (or this week).
- B’s are still important, but nothing will catch on fire if you don’t get them done this week. (but you might still have time to get a few done)
- C’s are probably the items you’ve been putting off for too long, and they don’t have deadlines.
Make sure everything has an A, B or C beside it.
3. SCHEDULE YOUR ITEMS
Take out your planner (paper, ideally) and look at your week. Write in all of the appointments you have for the upcoming week. NEXT, look at you’re A list, and see what’s on there that you can do this week. Write the items on the day you intend to do them. If you have a day with tons of appointments, don’t clutter your day with tasks you know you won’t get done. Fill out your entire week.
Actually you will probably need to put some of your to-do’s on the following week or 2. That’s OK. I want you to end your day feeling like you’ve accomplished the Right Things at the Right Time!
RINSE AND REPEAT!
Next week, start the process all over again. Look at anything you didn’t get done last week, and add it to this week’s Brain Dump. Get in the habit of doing a Weekly Brain Dump, then prioritizing and scheduling your tasks. Leave room for play and downtime too!