Happy February! We’ve recently heard from several of our clients about some awesome mid-year data that they’ve been having…what do you know – SIMPLE WORKS!
As I shared with my team on our monthly team call in January, our motto for 2014 is “Simple and Habitual.” Yep – we’re actually LIMITING what we do and doing that again and again and again. What I’m finding is that by doing LESS, I’m getting more done. It sounds totally weird, but it’s true!
What I’ve started doing is creating a big, long to-do list for the week (these are items tied to our monthly goals and just things that crop up along the way like writing materials for a training, packing for a trip or jumping on the camera for a client consultation). Then I break down that list into three sections:
- Must get done this week or there will be a big consequence (like not being prepared to deliver a training or missing a flight!)
- Important, but could wait ‘til next week
- Not important this week
Trust me, when I first started, EVERYTHING ended up in the “must get done this week” but as time has gone on I’ve gotten better and truly seeing my to-do list more clearly.
Then I prioritize each day the things on my list in order of importance…and, here’s the kicker: I put time limits on them. So, I might have “Respond to emails – 30 minutes” and I literally set my timer for that. You would be AMAZED at how much I get done. Really, I didn’t believe it, but now I’m a believer. It works! One of my goals and commitments for 2014 was to turn off electronics at 6:30 p.m. – it’s just too tempting to say, “I’ll just finish this little thing up”…and 11:30 p.m. rolls around and I’ve “gotten ahead,” but I’m exhausted and have to start the whole thing again 7 hours later…not to mention, I haven’t spent quality time with my loved ones!
What this process has allowed me to do is absolutely control my work flow and my time for LIFE! You know, that’s really the truth: When I fail to control my work flow (which, by the way, is TOTALLY IN MY CONTROL!), then I short-change the really important stuff in life: LIFE!
Now, what you need to know is THIS girl used to completely pride herself on answering emails and having nothing in my inbox at the end of the day (my staff and I would text pictures of our emptied inbox to each other as a joke…but, seriously, it was a source of pride!). I used to take pride in doing 9,001 things simultaneously! But what I now know is that I was totally wrong! Doing more doesn’t equal doing more. It equals being doubly tired.
I’m not going to say that I’m perfect on this…old habits are hard to break. But I will say that when I fall off of the wagon and get stuck on tasks that really aren’t that important (clearing my inbox), I have a structure to hop back on and to put me back on track.
I tell ya – it ain’t easy, but I’m getting more done and spending even more time on LIFE. Work isn’t life, life is life. While I take super duper pride in my work and it defines a big part of who I am, it is not the whole part of me.
So…what do you think? Can you relate? I’m thinking of doing a free little challenge to teach you the things that I’ve learned from experts about managing time – would you be interested in something like that? I mean – it WORKS! And I was a skeptic!
Let me know what you think!
I can most certainly relate to your article and many of my fellow colleagues would as well. It’s very easy for work to consume your “life”,but then it seems in our everyday life outside of work almost becomes another “job.” Things that should be enjoyed instead of viewed as getting in the way of getting work done; sitting down and chatting with an old friend, spending time helping a family member create a project or just sitting down to watch a movie. I like your wording when you said “Work isn’t life, life is life.” Thank you for the great article and helpful suggestions in time management!
Mallory – you are so right! I’m trying my hardest along with you guys to remember my own words!!:-)