Last week I sat down at my computer to return a few emails. One of them caused me to look at my calendar, where I noticed that an event had populated on the wrong date. So, I fixed the date and sent a quick email for clarification. Then I noticed that I needed to add an important meeting that I committed to at work. I entered that on the schedule (and made a quick note about the report I’ll need for the meeting). Now that my calendar was up to date, I returned to email to see an urgent one had just come through. I dealt with that and I was ready to go. But what was I working on? Oh yeah, I needed to return to those couple of emails. But looked at the time—I needed to go. I’d have to deal with those later…
Has that ever happened to you? You say “no” because you are a model of laser-like focus that doesn’t get distracted.
We all face the challenge of too many tasks and too little time. Add to that research that proves Multitasking is a Lie, and we become frustrated. It seems that we are falling further behind. We should be frustrated—but more at ourselves than at others. If we don’t control our time, other people will.
Here are 4 strategies to reclaim your time and therefore smile more often! (And I listed them in elementary school language to prove how simple they are.)
- Give yourself a gift by doing that thing! Marine, great leader, and friend Richard Rierson taught me a great lesson when I was in his Mastermind group. He said, “Rob, you know that thing that you really need to do, that thing that you hate doing, that thing that you’ve been putting off? —Do that.” If you can’t do it all, do part of it. Today. Now.
- Do similar stuff on the same days. If you have to make meals this week, use 20 minutes on Sundays to plan your meals or prep what you can. Monday mornings, block time to catch up with work emails and schedule your week. Tuesdays, do your writing in the morning. Basically you “batch similar tasks” as explained by Michael Hyatt.
- Create your own time out. If you go to your iPhone “settings,” the 7th icon down is Do Not Disturb. Give your self an hour of time to work distraction free. If you can’t stay focused that long, use the Tomato Timer.
- Make a list. Keep a running list of important stuff on your desktop. When something more important comes along, put it at the top. When you finish something, delete it. You’ll stop forgetting the important stuff.
THE BOTTOM LINE: These are steps small, relatively easy to implement, and are usually just the thing to keep you on track. The most important thing to remember is this, when you are working on your top priority, you feel good about yourself and accomplish more. Next week: how to always know what your top priority should be!
Out of the four steps mentioned, which is the most important to you?