It’s Monday morning. Almost half-way through both August and the third quarter. If you’re a parent, school is either starting soon or has already started for your kids. And, if you’re like most people, you feel like your already long to-do list is just growing longer and longer. You’re more than just a little overwhelmed and you aren’t really sure what to do about it. Everything needs to get done and you just don’t seem to have the time to do it.
It might be that you feel like you’re barely keeping afloat at work. You work long hours but it’s still not enough to get through everything that you’re trying to accomplish. By the time you get home the last thing you want to do is dive into the to-do list of things you need to get done at home.
If you can relate with this, you’re not alone.
We’re all stressed
According to a recent poll, almost 80% of Americans deal with stress on a daily basis. And, a good number of those people that are employed (50%), feel stress because they don’t think they have enough time to do what they want to accomplish. And, that number increases for people that are working and have children.
There’s just so many things we need or want to do and not enough time to do it in. Does that sound familiar?
But, we can’t do anything about the amount of time that we have in a day. So, our only option is to learn time management skills that will set us up for success in our schedules. This is something that’s a part of SPEARity business coaching services in Milwaukee. Our coaches teach members how to focus on the right things to help get the results their after in their business day after day.
And, a benefit that comes along with learning how to do this is that it spreads into their personal lives as well. This means less stress, more confidence, and better results on a personal and professional level. Who doesn’t want that?
So, here are a few tips to help you master your to-do list instead of constantly feeling like it’s beating you down.
1. Track your time
Most people struggle with something called planning fallacy. Basically, we’re no good at estimating how long a task is going to take. This makes scheduling a nightmare.
Let’s say you think it’s only going to take you 30 minutes to wrap up the proposal you need to write and send out to your prospect. So, you schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to knock it out. Then, you schedule a meeting with a customer after that and tasks for the rest of your day. If the proposal actually takes you 50 minutes instead of 30 minutes, you run out of time to work on it. You can’t push back your customer meeting so you have to set the proposal to the side. Then, you work through the rest of the day trying to stick to your schedule, but you know that the proposal is still waiting on your desk to be finished.
All-day long you have to decide whether you finish the proposal and cross something else off your list orf stick to your schedule and have to stay late to finish it up.
That causes stress. And, imagine what your day would look like if you underestimate the time that it will take you to complete the majority of your tasks within the day.
Action step: Start tracking your time.
In order to overcome this problem, you need to make an effort to track how long it takes you to complete tasks. You can do this by simply writing it down on a piece of paper or using an app like Clockify.
Once you have spent time tracking, you will KNOW how long each task actually takes and can then plan accordingly.
2. Choose your priorities
Sometimes there really are just too many things to do and not enough time. That’s why we need to choose our priorities. What things are going to make the biggest difference? Is checking your email the best use of time at the moment or would it be better to be researching XYZ?
When you know the tasks that matter the most to you, it will help you decide where to spend your time. Then, at the end of the day, you might not have gotten done everything you want to, but at least you know that you accomplished the things that were the most important.
Action step: Set goals
In order to establish your focus priorities, you need to know what your goals are. If you have a goal to grow your business by x% in the third quarter then you need to spend time on tasks that help you accomplish that.
3. Set limits
It’s important to have realistic expectations for what you can accomplish and focus on during a day. If you aren’t realistic, you’re going to be overwhelmed and discouraged day after day.
Realistically, you probably aren’t going to make it through a list of 30 tasks each day. If you’re like a lot of people who try this all you do is accomplish a few things and then move the rest over to your list for the next day. So, even if you accomplish a lot in a day, you’re still shifting things to the next day. This sets you up for always feeling overwhelmed and behind. You never have that feeling of success that comes from checking off all the boxes on your list for a day.
The first two tips help you with this step. Knowing how long tasks take you and what the most important things are to focus your time on, help you to understand what’s realistic for your day.
Action step: Choose six things
That’s right. Just six. SPEARity business coaches encourage members to focus on just six main tasks each day. Does that mean that they are only doing six things and calling it a day? Of course not. But it does mean that they know the six main things that need their attention each day. Everything else that gets done is a bonus.
How the SPEARity app helps
If you’re exhausted and tired of feeling overwhelmed and behind, the SPEARity app can help. It takes the three tips that are discussed above and helps you focus on them all in one place.
With the app, you can keep track of your goals, your progress, and your to-dos. The app helps you take your larger goals, break them down into smaller goals, and create your to-do list. This means you always know what tasks need to be done to help you reach your goals. And, you can easily see how close you’re getting to hitting your goals.
It also stops you from overcommitting your day. You daily spear (daily to-do list) only allows you to add 6 priorities. But, you still have a separate area to track other tasks that are waiting to be done. However, by having them on a separate list, it allows you to keep your focus in the direction in needs to go each day.
If you’re interested in more information on the app or seeing a demo, click here to schedule your meeting to speak with a SPEARity business coach. We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee business coaching firm that specializes in executive coaching and leadership development training.