We are all familiar with the daily stress of trying to catch up, fit all that we want to do or think we should do in our regular day. The hours do not stretch, so we need to choose what we want to do in the given time in a nice and easy manner. Below are some principles to help you make those choices.
Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of your work that is really important. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things. If something in the schedule has to slip, if something isn’t going to get done, make sure it’s not part of that 20 percent. Don’t just “work smart”, work smart on the right things.
The 4 Ds – Decision Tree for Time Management and stress relief
(1) Do – is this task something that must be done? Asking yourself this question every time you are about to commit energy to something requires you to assess whether or not the activity actually supports your goals, values, and purposes.
(2) Drop – If the activity is not something that supports your goals, values and purposes…then you don’t need to do it.
(3) Delay– Is this an activity that you can reasonably delay? Is there a REAL urgency to dealing with this activity now? IF you defer it for later, circumstances may alter sufficiently to either reduce the energy you are required to give it or may reshape what you need to do altogether.
(4) Delegate – is the activity something YOU have to do? Can someone else do it because they would be more effective at it?
First, you identify your long term goals and put the pieces into place as you go along to achieve your long term goals. These are very important though not urgent.
Second, it is important to stay focused and energetic and motivated. Sometimes we find ourselves working right up to the deadline of when it is due. When it becomes important and is urgent we throw ourselves at an activity. Though, the stress of the time pressure can work for some people, for others it reduces our capacity and our creativity. Think of Pareto. IF we had planned our time better we would have conquered this important item before it became URGENT.
Spending your energy in the ‘not important and not urgent’ and ‘not important though urgent’ categories is a sure sign that you are distracted and are not functioning at your most effective ability.
We all have a side to us that wants to do more and give more and be more. Yet, we are creatures of finite limits and capacity. You can keep your stress low when you are able to draw the line and set a limit to all the things you can accept into your schedule.
Chunk down the Big Blocks
Concentrate on the smaller bits of the bigger piece. Take each project, each week and break it down into its manageable and achievable parts. Keep a running list for yourself and you’ll soon find that you are WELL on your way to reaching your HUGE goal because you’ve made it ‘life sized’ again.