“I wish there were more hours in the day!” I’ve heard this expression too many times before and sadly even from my own mouth. “ If I just had a few more hours, I could complete so much more!”.
Of course if we were granted these extra hours, we would excitedly fill them up with more appointments, projects and stuff and then when we couldn’t squeeze anymore engagements into the already crammed and overflowing diary we would quickly turn around, bat our eyelids and with open hands ask for more time, please. Unequivocally we are our own worst enemies and end up back were we started, time-poor.
We somehow believe that the more we do and the busier we are, the better, more successful and productive we will become. Sadly, this delusion doesn’t make us more productive, it just makes us more stressed, tired and unfocused. This coming from someone who has bought the original T-shirt and seen the movie, multiple times on the subject.
I believe there are a couple of lessons to learn here. So for all the busy, overextended and overcommitted people out there, If you only had three hours in your working day how would you spend them?
Stop, put on the brakes.
Before you start overloading your precious time with meetings, take a step back and ask yourself these questions:
1) What are your long term goals? Have these long term goals been broken down into manageable medium and short term goals?
If you had to rack your brain and rummage around to look for your notes on your goals, or you’ve just been to busy to even define them, then I’d suggest that you first spend some time reminding yourself what you ultimately want to achieve.
2) Once you have a handle on your goals, review your to-do list. Do the tasks on your to-do list align themselves to your goals?
Those irrelevant items that have somehow snuck onto your to-do list, why are they there? Just remember, being busy isn’t going to win you any awards. It’s about the quality of those tasks, not the quantity of tasks.
3) Be ruthless with your to-do list. If the tasks, projects, appointments etc. do not drive your goals, then remove them from your list.
4) Now that you have reduced your list, select a maximum of 3 items. These tasks should be fundamental to achieving your business goals. These are the tasks you want to work on first. The other tasks can be scheduled after these critical ones. Not everything is important and urgent. By being objective your to-do list can be streamlined significantly.
By reducing our time, it forces us to think about how relevant the tasks that we perform are. Don’t fall into the trap of asking for more time, change your mindset and rather ask yourself. “Which tasks are irrelevant and if removed from my to-do list will give me more time in my day?”
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