Make time to read this article by NAPO Pittsburgh member, Rachele Paulone
Ever have that sinking feeling at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished very little and your to-do list is still a mile long? Setting your goals and using smart time management techniques can help ease your stress. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in tackling that never ending to-do list.
1.) Learn to say no- I’m convinced that most of us are trying to be super human and tackle more tasks than is humanly possible. Over-scheduling yourself can lead to burn out, and your health and your family life will feel the effects of your stress.
2.) Use a good planner- (electronic or paper) and write down your priorities for the next day. This will help you stay focused and make it easier to check items off your list.
3.) Prioritize you action items- Remember the 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto Principle. Basically, this rule says that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. For example, 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales, or 20% of your tasks will account for 80% of the value of what you do, and so on. This is an important principle when deciding what is most important on your list. If you have a list of 10 items, there are probably two or three items on that list that will be the highest in terms of productivity. Do those first.
4.) Swallow the frog- Mark Twain famously said, “If your job is to eat a frog every day, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if your job is to eat two frogs a day, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Tackling those most difficult tasks first builds a momentum by providing a sense of accomplishment that will make the rest of your day much easier. We tend to procrastinate on important tasks. This creates subconscious pressure and stress, which can decrease our daily productivity.
5.) Eliminate distractions- I remember working at a desk before computer usage was so widespread. We didn’t have nearly as many distractions as we do today. Try turning off your push notifications to help you stay focused. Set specified times throughout the day for checking email. Also, you don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings. Studies show that allowing yourself to be interrupted adds more time to your project. It takes a while to get refocused after taking your mind off of the task at hand. I get the most amount of work done early in the morning or late at night because I have fewer distractions and it is much easier to stay focused on the task.
6.) Eliminate unnecessary clutter in your life- Famous blogger, Josh Becker became a minimalist after he realized how much time he was spending just taking care of all the stuff he had accumulated in his home and garage. If you are unable to do this on your own, find a good Professional Organizer (through NAPO) who can help you to simplify your space at home and at work. Clearing out clutter and getting yourself organized can be a real timesaver. Many clients I’ve worked with are amazed at how reducing clutter can save them time, produce calm, and lead to less stress. How much time are you spending searching for things or taking care of your stuff? Would you have more time for life priorities if you didn’t have to take care of so much stuff and were more organized? Unclutter your life to find more time to do the things you love.
Life is all about finding balance. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, eating right, and finding time to stay healthy. I hope this blog helps you to think about your time and priorities in a new way. It’s a struggle that each of us faces on a daily basis. Be sure to always stay focused on maintaining a good balance.
About the Author
Rachele “Rocky” Paulone is the owner of All Things Organized LLC and has earned the following specialist certificates through NAPO – Residential Organizing, Workplace Productivity, and Life Transitions.