One day I stopped to ask myself just exactly where all the busyness was going to get me. In a year, 5 years or 20 years, was I going to be any less frantically busy? Was I going to be any closer to my goals? Oh, wait a minute! What are my goals? Aaah…when dealing with a flooded kitchen, turn the faucet off first!
Remember, the best thing about advice is that we can keep what we want and throw the rest away. With that said, I am going to offer advice on how to manage the busyness of life. Remember, if we want different results in life, we have to change something. We have to change how we think.
First, buy a pad of paper and a weekly appointment day planner. The weekly calendar should include appointment slots from early morning to late evening 7 days a week.
Next, sit down somewhere quiet. Make sure you aren’t going to be disturbed by anyone. Hide from the kids, the spouse and the chores screaming your name. Maybe in the bathroom? Now, just think about what you want your life to look like this coming week. This is tougher to do than it sounds because our mind has been taught to constantly multi-task. When your mind drifts to the dirty kitchen, the next day’s work, and the shopping list, don’t beat yourself up. Just gently bring your mind back to the task at hand. Do you want more chaos or more control over your week?
Make a list of everything you know you need to accomplish this week. Just jot everything down without judging or stressing out. The work, shopping, making dinner, DMV, car repair, doctor appointment, kids soccer practice, etc. Now, add to the list everything you really WANT to accomplish this week for yourself. Is there a lunch date with a friend that would be a treat for the two of you? How about the great book you have been meaning to start? Is there an online course on VetMedTeam you want to participate in? How about working out three times this week? This part of the list is for those things you really, really want for yourself.
Read the entire list top to bottom. Place a star next to your top 12 most important items on the list. Of those top 12, place an asterisk next to those you can delegate to someone else. Uh oh, I just heard some of you say there aren’t any you can delegate. Really? Do you want more chaos or control in your life? Could you rotate responsibility with another parent for getting the kids to their activities? Do you really need to shop for that wedding gift by running all over town or could you shop online in a fraction of the time? Here is a thought, if you were in a hospital recuperating from surgery, who would take care of all those things you think you can’t delegate? So, start delegating!
Using your day planner, write in your schedule for your job. Take a look at the list of your remaining top 12 without an asterisk. Schedule each one of them into the week. These are firm appointments you are going to keep. Include driving time in the schedule. Now you have a little bit better handle on how the week will progress!
What do you do about all the items that didn’t make it onto your top 12 list? If they didn’t make it to the top 12 list, but you still feel compelled to get them done, reassess them and decide which ones would make you feel good about yourself. Add them to your schedule without bumping any of your top picks.
Below is an example of one of my typical work days. Definitely one of my simpler ones!
- 0500-0530Get up and get ready for work
- 0530-0600Breakfast, feed the dogs
- 0600-0630Listen to books or lectures on CD during commute to work
- 1100-1200Lunch break: read!
- 1600-1700Listen to books or lectures on CD during commute home
- 1700-1800Feed the dogs, make dinner
- 1800-1830Eat dinner, chat with husband
- 1830-2000Work in yard and play with dogs, husband does the dishes
- 2000-2100Read and get ready for bed
Please notice that nowhere on my schedule is there time for surfing the net. This is a time thief! Have you ever told yourself that you would only spend 5 minutes looking at a video clip someone sent you only to discover that you have just spent 2 hours! For some reason, the Internet is addictive. I am sure there is a psychology student out there somewhere doing a PhD thesis on this very topic. In the meantime, just remember that you chose a list of important accomplishments for your week, time is very valuable, and not to waste it where value is not added to your life.