Most recently we talked about the importance of prioritizing your task list and choosing 3-6 items on which to focus in order to be more effective at time management. I’d like to take that concept a bit further because there are sometimes misconceptions about what that means. If it’s not done appropriately, this process could end up having the opposite of the intended effect!
For example, if you chose a time management task list like this:
- Reorganize my files
- Prepare for my conference
- Write a book
- Clean the windows
- Redesign my website
What do you think would happen?
First of all, the list looks overwhelming, doesn’t it? Your first thought may be something like “Holy crap! I’ll never get all of that done!” And you would be right! It’s too big and your mind knows it! Rather than motivating and building you up, this tends to weaken you as you feel worse and worse about not accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. Time management is about understanding we all have 24 hours in our day. We can’t create more time, but we can better manage our activities within the time we have. Make your daily task list small enough that it’s possible to accomplish everything on it.
Try a task list for time management like this instead:
- Spend 30 minutes reorganizing my files
- Complete outline for my speech
- Write two pages of my book
- Clean 2 windows
- Start an outline for my home page
There is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you cross off those things you complete. Seeing progress increases your confidence and feeds your motivation to continue improving your time management skills!
A Competitive Spirit Can Provide a Time Management Advantage
When it comes to business, generally, I feel competition is a negative thing because I don’t believe it’s necessary and it mostly causes division. I’m always an advocate of “win/win/win” scenarios. Keeping that in mind, if you have a bit of the competitive spirit (like I do), you can use it to your advantage when it comes to time management.
If you happen to have a co-worker, colleague, peer or friend who has a similar desire to succeed and you can make a little competitive game to up-level your progress, by all means, go for it! As long as you keep it friendly and fun for all, this can be a great way to stay connected and motivate one another. Be wary of taking it too far, however. Improving your status, success, or time management is never worth the negative energy of causing others to look or feel badly.
I have a mentor who talks about connecting with others as a habit. It could be a phone call, an email, a text or Facebook message – anything where you are reaching out to potential clients, investors, friends, or anyone else who fits into your vision and purpose. He encourages his clients to keep track of how many consecutive work days you stick to this habit….and then trying to “one up” yourself by increasing the number. So, if the longest number of consecutive work days you’ve reached out to others is 7, see if you can go 8 consecutive work days. You’re constantly striving to “Raise Your Bar.”
This is not a time management tactic as much as it’s simply a “success habit.” I guarantee that if you took this on, you would realize many benefits – more clients, more support, more meaningful relationships, more opportunities, more contributions, more ideas, and more impact.
Creating somewhat of a personal challenge or game out of your task list can provide extra motivation and even fun! If you wrote 2 pages for your book on Tuesday, maybe you can write 3 on Wednesday. If your longest number of consecutive work days writing is 4, see if you can go for 5. Keep track of your personal bests and reward yourself when you reach certain milestones!
Let it go
We all know things come up. We get interrupted, we are assigned a new and urgent project, we have to take care of an ill child, we take longer than we expected to do something. Be sure not to mentally beat yourself up if you aren’t able to complete everything on your task list for the day. Doing this serves no one – especially you. Dust yourself off, stand tall and make the decision to start with a clean slate every day. The more you develop your time management skills and stay focused, the easier it will become to plan your days.
Small actions one by one over time will create a lifetime of results!
I’d like to extend an offer to help you make more progress in getting from where you currently are in life either professionally or personally to where you truly want to be. If you are interested in exploring what we can accomplish together, add “contact Mindi to setup a consultation” to your task list. There is no charge for a consultation and there is no obligation. I look forward to hearing from you!