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One of the hardest things people struggle with is finding time to complete their to-do list. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why you are unable to get through all of your tasks in a day, even with your best intentions, consider that you aren’t planning everything you should be. In fact, there are probably certain tasks that fly under your radar every day that keep you from getting what you wanted accomplished. For example, getting ready in the morning, having breakfast, dropping the kids off at school, your commute to work, drive time to appointments, managing your emails and phone calls, writing a proposal, even personal and leisure time are just some of the activities that fly under the radar but need to be scheduled into your routine.
The trick I teach people to use in order to effectively manage their schedule and get everything done is to consider each of their tasks as if they are an appointment and schedule it into their routine. Assign designated blocks of time for each task or activity throughout your day. Most importantly, you can develop a healthier relationship with “time” by under-promising on personal and professional deadlines so that time becomes your ally instead of your adversary.
Treating every task or activity as an appointment will allow you to plan better. It will also keep you realistic about what you feel you can and cannot do throughout your day so that you can perform each task with a conscious intention without the stress or overwhelm normally associated with trying to “Do it all.”
When something new comes up, whether it’s a request from someone or a new project, before you say “Yes” to anyone (including yourself), look at your schedule and ask, “Can I take this on right now?”. If it’s not scheduled into your routine then chances are you don’t have the time for it. Instead, schedule that activity or task for a future time. Make an appointment for this task or activity. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing everything except what you had originally intended.
Of course there is some flexibility to this method. After all, we all know that life has a tendency to get in the way of our plans. However, these sudden jolts to your routine are usually temporary rather than long term. These occurrences are simply another opportunity to adjust your routine. My advice is simply to exercise caution when choosing to engage in activities that will divert you from your planned activities. If you find that you are constantly being diverted from your routine, then you simply be glutton for punishment and enjoy the stress.