Start with a plan.
How many times have you sat down at your desk or computer and wondered where to start? You know you have a million things to do but you’re not sure what they are. You feel overwhelmed and anxious but not sure what to do about it. What is missing? A plan, girlfriend. You need an actual plan for your day. EVERY day.
But you can’t start without getting it ALL out of your head. So, brain dump. Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about organizing it, just get it on paper. Or on screen — whatever works best for you. I find I prefer paper because it is more tangible — a real letting go happens when you write on paper. Try brain dumping a few times a week (or every day if that’s helpful for you) which will allow you to adjust your daily plans and to-dos accordingly.
Once you’ve got everything out, you can make a plan. Every night before you leave your desk or turn off work for the evening, sit down and look over your calendar for the next day. Make a note of your appointments and look over the brain dump to decide what needs to go on your to-do list for tomorrow. You can use any number of recourses to help you here… a paper planner, Trello, Asana, a notebook or sheet of paper… it doesn’t have to be fancy. Try different products or systems until you find what works for YOU and sticks.
When you do this, you’ll arrive at your desk or computer the next morning knowing exactly what you should be doing, accomplish more, and better stay on task throughout the day.
Ever find that you do the little, easy stuff first because it is, well, easy… but then you find you’re running out of time in the day for those bigger and more important projects? Don’t do the little stuff before doing the big stuff. Do the important tasks of your day first.
If you waste your time or extend your energy on small, menial tasks before completing more important tasks, you will find that you have much less time and less brain power to tackle those bigger important things. So, when you’re looking at your brain dump or making your plan each day, consider the priorities. Your plan should be to do the more important things first.
How do you determine what’s most important? Take that nice little brain dump you did, and set out to prioritize what’s on it. Get a fresh sheet of paper and organize your brain dump into by order of importance. Good. Now you know what to start with! Then, as you have time, you’ll be able to fill in extra space and time with the smaller, less important tasks. But, you’ll feel better knowing that if you don’t get to them, nothing’s really going to fall apart.
Believe you can — and DO.
Affirmations, baby. I’m about to get a little woo woo… but stick with me here because it works. Believing in yourself, knowing you can do it, and having a positive outlook and attitude can really change the shape of your day.
Try writing or saying aloud affirmations each morning. Affirmations are a declaration of what you believe to be true. Put out into the universe what you believe will happen as if it is true. Maybe it’s a little like faking it till you make it… but when you start affirming what you believe will happen, it is like setting an intention to get it done. You can visualize the outcome and you actually start believing in your own potential and capabilities to do the work. And when you believe you can and WILL do –> you end up doing.
If this sounds a little outside your comfort zone, or you just don’t think this is something you’re into… I dare you to try. For one week only, start your day by writing down affirmations of what you will to accomplish and what you see happening in your biz. They could be something specific for today, or perhaps more overarching goals — either way, believe you can and will do, and YOU’LL DO.
Put your phone away, no Instagram, close Facebook. You lose hours with these distractions… more than you realize. Really. You know you do.
How do you eliminate these distractions? Set parameters and stick to them. Give yourself small chunks of time when you’re not allowed to look at your phone, you’re not in your email inbox… you’re just working on important things you need to be doing.
You get an email notification, so you toggle over to your email… you end up getting caught up in reading and answering other emails. That one instagram notification leads to a half hour scrolling or watching instastories. You sit down to do something and get a Facebook notification, phone call, or text message… only to find yourself down the rabbit hole of your Facebook feed, or doing something completely different than what you intended. Sound familiar?
This is when setting some boundaries and parameters on your time can be super beneficial. Eliminating distractions is the number one way to be more productive. It’s easier said than done, I get it.
My tip: set yourself up for success – turn off all notifications, silence your phone, and close out all browser windows (or minimize them — are you like me and HATE to close your tabs? 😉 yep, I get it sister, me too!). Put your head down for 45-60 minutes and do only that one thing — you will be far more efficient and complete that task in far less time than if your attention is constantly being diverted.
Yep, you heard me – do less! Sound counterintuitive? Think about it this way… the more you cram on your to-do list, the more time you need to get it all done. So, STOP putting all.the.things on your to-do list. Just don’t do it. Get specific, focus on what really matters, and set out to do that.
If you could do just one or two things today, what would those things be? When you put 25 things on your to-do list, you end up feeling defeated at the end of the day when you haven’t been able to get them all done, amiright? It’s just not realistic! Consider the amount of time it takes to do certain tasks and allot for that time.
Stop trying to do it all, cramming it all into one day. Go back to your priority list. When you plan for tomorrow, put LESS on your to-do list, and give yourself the space to feel accomplished at the end of the day, instead of defeated.
All of this sound like too much? It doesn’t have to be, friend. This is one of my favorite things to geek out about! Schedule a FREE coffee chat and I’ll be happy to share with you some of my best advice for time management and dealing with overwhelm.
BY: CINDY MAKA