"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."—Ben Stein
Have you ever felt like twenty four hours in a day just isn’t enough time? Most people say that more things would get done if there was more time in the day. Since that’s probably not possible, exploring how your time is being used could be the answer in reducing your stress.
Where is your time leaking?
When you are stressed, your ability to focus can get out of whack. Adrenaline are released when you into fight or flight mode. Those chemical shifts in your body are really helpful when you are in a survival situation. However, is dealing with everyday stress, chemical changes can cause you to become overwhelmed with your to do list. Suddenly, everything looks important and has to get done.
Another time leak can be distraction. It’s easy to work on one thing and get distracted with another. Lack of goals and focus can be a huge time sucker during the day. Smart phones, tablets and social media use can send you easily down a path of losing track of your time.
“The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.”—Mozart
Get Focused Strategies.
In the midst of total overwhelm, here are some strategies to use your time more effectively:
Do what matters most every day. You have heard me say this many times if you have followed my blog for any period of time. Define where you want to spend your time. Start by marking down the time you spend at work. Then add other tasks that are important to you, such as time with family, spiritual practice and self care.
Know your schedule. Find the best calendar option for you and use it. Begin using your calendar each time you add a task to your to do list. Ask yourself if the activity is short or long term. And make sure you have blocked off “me time” before
Say no. Make sure you check your calendar before you say yes to anything. Think about the last time you said yes to an extra task or job. Did you run into scheduling problems or think you had more time than you really did to finish the job? This is a really common issue in over obligating yourself to activities.
Stop multitasking. One of the biggest myths about productivity is that you will get more done if you multitask. Multitasking was actually developed for computers, not humans. You actually get less done by doing several things at once. Block off time to work on a specific task. Get as much done as possible at one time on your project at hand.
Do you have ideas that come up when you are working on something? A trick to help you focus while working is to write it down while you are working on the task at hand. Look at your list when you are finished with what you were originally doing. Many times the distracting thought you had wasn’t important.
The fact of the matter is that multitasking and other distractions can be habits that block you from getting a task done.
Ask for help. This can be the hardest thing to do when you have a lot on your plate. Somewhere in your mind you might think you can handle everything. Besides, you can finish the job faster, right? Not necessarily. Focus on what you do best. Allow others to help you and get the job done.
Try these strategies to focus your energy and cross off tasks on your list. Notice if you begin to have extra time in your day. Allow time for your new habits to take effect. Comment below on what helps keep you focused!