You have a to-do list that scrolls on for days. You are managing multiple projects, getting lots of email and messages on different messaging systems, managing finances and personal health habits and so much more.
It all keeps piling up, and it can feel overwhelming.
How do you keep up with it all? How do you find focus and peace and get stuff accomplished when you have too much on your plate?
Today, I’ll look at some key strategies and time management tips for taking on an overloaded life with an open heart, lots of energy, and a smile on your face.
The First Step: Triage
Whether you’re just starting your day, or you’re in the middle of the chaos and just need to find some sanity, the first step in better time management is to get into triage mode.
Triage, as you probably know, is sorting through the chaos to prioritize: what needs to be done now, what needs to be done today, what needs to be done this week, and what can wait? You’re looking at urgency, but also what’s meaningful and important.
Here’s what you might do:
Pick out the things that need to be done today
Start a Short List for things you’re going to do today. That might be important tasks for big projects, urgent tasks that could result in damage if you don’t act, smaller admin tasks that you really should take care of today, and responding to important messages. I would recommend being ruthless and cutting out as much as you can, having just 5 things on your plate if that’s at all possible. You don’t have to do everything today, and you don’t need to respond to every email.
Move things to tomorrow/the rest of the week
If you have deadlines that can be pushed back (or renegotiated), do that. Spread the work out over the week, even into next week. What needs to be done tomorrow? What can wait a day or two longer?
Eliminate what you can
That might mean just not replying to some messages that aren’t that important and don’t really require a reply. Better time management might mean telling some people that you can’t take on this project after all, or that you need to get out of the commitment that you said you’d do. Yes, this is uncomfortable. For now, just put them on a list called, “To Not Do” and plan to figure out how to get out of them later.
OK, you have some breathing room and a manageable list now! Let’s shrink that down even further and just pick one thing.