Get a Planner
Maybe you’re one of those weirdos who can keep all their ducks in a row using Google Calendar or iCal and phone reminders, but I am not one of those people. I need to write tasks, commitments and appointments down, so I carry a planner pretty much everywhere I go. I was a diehard Passion Planner fan for a long time, but I found the structure started to feel a bit limiting to me, so in 2019 I switched to bullet journaling. This way, the physical planner can be smaller and more convenient to carry around, and I get a bit more freedom with it. My BuJo set-up is not particularly artsy, but it works for me! I can track upcoming events, tasks and appointments, as well as business metrics, habits, goals of various sorts, etc. I also have pages dedicated to reading lists and brainstorming for upcoming blogging content, so I keep it all in one place!
If you wonder where your days go and how you are not getting more done, it’s time to perform a time audit on yourself. For at least 2 days this week (1 week day + 1 weekend day), carry a blank timetable around with you and fill it out as you go. The goal is to get a clear picture of how you spend your time; from there, you can see where you can shave down inefficient time use to get more done.
Maybe this is a carryover from my high school days, but I live and die by a good timetable. I am a visual person, and I find that laying out all my commitments and tasks for the week soothes my anxiety and allows me to buckle down and get sh!t done. I use a bullet journal so I create this layout for myself weekly, but I find that the task of setting it up is sort of soothing and takes 10min max.
Identify Your Non-Negotiables
What are some of the things in your week that you are absolutely not willing to let go of? Maybe for you this means date night, or your lazy Sunday morning routine, or your Tuesday night yoga class. Whatever it is, get clear about it and then pencil it in!
Put It All On Paper
When I feel my stress rising and I start getting overwhelmed, I like to make a list of everything I have on my mind. Without categorizing or censoring myself, I simply jot down everything that’s on my plate to create the mother of all to-do’s.
I then ruthlessly separate it into 4 categories, depending on how important and timebound the tasks are.
Once the graph is completed, I have a visual aid to decide what to do about each task. I have 4 choices:
keep on my list and address right away
I know I said I was an old-school paper planner kind of gal, but at times I can be swayed by digital tools. When it comes to task management, I am a fan of Asana. While it was originally created to manage tasks and conversations across team members and department, I actually at times have used it for personal purposes. It works particularly well for tasks you wish to defer, as you can simply move their due dates, but you obviously could also do that with a paper planner as well.
Make A List The Night Before
To make sure you hit the ground running in the morning and avoid spending the first 30min of your day waffling, procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed because you have so much to do (oh wow, can you tell I’ve been there?), take a look at your planner the night before and make a plan of attack. What are the top 3 things you want to accomplish the next day? Clearly list them so that you know exactly what to tackle the next day.
Did you notice how I told you to make a list of 3 things you want to accomplish the next day, not a list of everything you want to get done? The goal here is to create small wins - you are obviously much more likely to accomplish 3 things than you are to accomplish 10 things, so let’s prioritize the list and celebrate if you do get though more than you thought you could!
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