As each year goes by, life seems to get busier for me as well as the rest of my family. There have been times when I’ve felt a little (okay a lot) overwhelmed with my schedule. I have found that busyness can actually get in the way of being productive. And we all know what affect busyness can have on relationships. The stress that it can cause leads to all kinds of issues. So how do you deal with today’s busy world.
I’m not saying I am the expert or have the best solution; however, I have learned some things along the way that may be helpful.
- Identify your priorities. You will not have time for everything that comes your way. You will have to make choices; so these choices must be based on your priorities. Too much time spent on things that are not in alignment with your priorities generally does not end well.
- Learn to say “no”. I have a hard time with this, but I’m getting better at it. Most successful people like to get involved in things where they feel like they can make a difference. There comes a point, however, where you spread yourself so thin that you aren’t effective at anything. That is a problem and it can damage your reputation and cause major stress. Nobody wins.
- Control your calendar, do not let your calendar control you. We are fortunate today to have such amazing technology that connects your calendar on your computer and your phone. Although, this amazing technology can cause more problems than it solves if not handled in the right way. My administrative assistant is the only person other than me that can add items to my calendar. We work together to protect me against too many meetings. Once a weeks begins to get too busy, we push non-emergency items off another week or two instead trying to cram too much into my schedule. I am also very careful not to cut into family time if possible.
- Save time by using great tools. Don’t try to rely on your memory, write things down. Again, we are blessed with incredible tools to help us keep track of “stuff.” There are two tools I suggest you try if you haven’t already. They are Evernote and Workflowy. You probably don’t need both, but check them out. One or the other will meet your needs for keeping your lists and notes organized and available. They both sync with your computer and smart phone. These tools can help you stay focused on your priorities and give you quick access to information.
- Eliminate time wasters. What are time wasters? In my mind, they are things that do not move you towards your goals. (Yes, all work and no play is not healthy. So, sometimes a goal is to play. That’s not what I am talking about.) I have found my biggest time waster to be meetings. I quickly evaluate content and make a choice as to whether attend or not. If I am the one holding a meeting, I am very selective on who I invite so I am not guilty of wasting other people’s time, especially my employees. Track how you spend your time for one week. At the end of the week look back and think about what could have been eliminated. Then, eliminate those items as much as possible in the future.
- All the tools in the world will not help you if you do not do #1 above. Analyzing how you spend your time and running it through your “priority filter” is the foundation for everything else.
These are a few of my thoughts on how I “keep up with it all.” I hope it was helpful in some way. Please share any additional suggestions you have in the comments section below.