I recently spent 4 days in Nashville, TN working with a client who not only has two businesses (she is a builder as well as an interior designer – a true double threat!) but is blessed to be busy. Really busy. Okay, actually slammed with work. So much so that even though she loves every minute of it, the reality of keeping everything moving forward had become very overwhelming. How many of us can relate to that?
Where to begin?? A few of the small changes that we implemented in her routine really made the biggest impact on how she managed her day. The great thing about building your day around these simple and quick tasks is that they can be used whether you are trying to get a handle on things at home or in your professional life. So here we go…
- Look for the “quick hit” first thing in the morning. Start your day by taking 20 minutes to knock out some task that is on your list. When I say “start your day” I mean literally that – before you do anything else (which often may mean doing it while you are still in your pj’s!). For some it may be clearing out emails that have accumulated. For others it may be handling open paperwork – filling out forms, paying bills, handling correspondence. It may even be getting a work-out in (you are allowed to change out of your pj’s for this one). You get the gist. The point is to start your day with a sense of accomplishment and hopefully keep that momentum that you just created going.
- Use an alarm. Seriously – all day long, as many times as you need it. Our days are crazy and hectic and often filled with more things to do than time will allow. So use an alarm to help manage your precious time. If you sit down to work on a project select a designated amount of time that you will be working on this task and set an alarm to notify you when it is time to move on to the next task. If you have to leave the house or office by a certain time set an alarm to sound 5-10 minutes before you need to leave so you can wrap-up before rushing out. Find a nice, friendly tone on your smartphone to use with your timer app, set an egg timer, use the timer on your microwave … something, just use an alarm.
- Officially wrap up your day (and don’t forget to use an alarm!). Take 20 minutes to take care of maintenance items and prepare for the next day. This does not mean to do work or answer emails … this means to do those things which help you to put closure on today and get ready for tomorrow. Some of the things may include:
- Print out/Flag any emails that came in during the day that you need to deal with at some point (file, put in calendar, etc.).
- Do a brain dump of all important information that you have accumulated during the day – upcoming meetings, appointments, schedule changes, etc.
- Picture what tomorrow is going to look like. What meetings do you have, what needs to get done, who do you have to call? Either jot these things down or keep them in your head – whatever works best for you.
The point is to go to bed with a game plan … and this includes figuring out what your “quick hit” for tomorrow morning will be!