How long has it been since you turned off your computer and every single email had been read? How about the last time you did everything on your proverbial “to-do” list? We could debate the value of even having a to-do list but it’s probably more efficient to just agree that “getting it all done” and being totally caught up is a fantasy. Being totally accessible through technology means there is seldom a lull in the incoming to-do’s. The next email you read will bring another task. The voice mail messages you listen to will hold another issue for you to handle.
The real question is not: “How can I get it all done?” The better question is: “What things can you afford to put off and what are the things you can’t?”
Think of it like this. There are 100 things you “should” do each day. Your job is to figure out which of the 4 or 5 are the non-negotiables.
I’ve seen people fool themselves by over-organizing, calling more meetings than necessary, jumping on conference calls, getting sucked into the inbox in their emails, etc. We all know what we need to do but most of us are too busy being busy, instead of being productive. The difficult tasks you want to avoid should probably be your non-negotiable tasks for the day. Try to begin each day with the 4 or 5 things you have decided you must accomplish. Once you accomplish those 4 or 5 things (or 1 or 2), THEN move to the things that can be wasting your time.
Start right now. Here are a few questions to consider: What should you be spending your time doing? What is the one thing that you have been putting off? What have you been doing that you need to delegate? What are some things you really “want” to do but haven’t had the time ? What is your personal business plan? What will your job look like in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years? What do you need to do now to be ready for what’s next? What books or articles should you be reading? What seminars should you be attending? Who should you be connecting with that could mentor you? What should you be doing that will make you smarter and happier? Are you building in any time for your health? Are you spending enough time with the people you love?
These are all great questions to start to thinking about instead of just grinding it out day after day. Figure out how to manage your schedule instead of letting it managing you!