Updated: Dec 10, 2019
It took a lot of time to write this. Not because writing it took awhile but because I did everything I could to avoid writing it in preparation for the actual act. I unloaded my dishwasher. I stared at my face in the mirror and examined my pores. I checked my phone 15 times. I peered into my fridge. I made a pedicure appointment. And finally, when it felt like there was nothing else I could do to not do what I needed to do, I embraced the reality of getting started.
Anyone else suffer from the Sunday scaries? That creeping anxious feeling that your to-do list is waiting on the other side of another work week and so you hide in the deep abyss of your couch in the comforting arms of Netflix and online food delivery? Oh, but wait, it’s Wednesday and you’re still on the couch watching episode #154 of Love Island and you’ve done NOTHING this week despite incoming deadlines that are closing in on you like a game show host with no personal space and a terrible case of halitosis.
The good news here is that there are only 207 episodes of Love Island, so eventually, you’ll have to stop. The bad news, is that if you don’t quit your terrible time management habits, so will the business that you’ve worked so hard to start. So, how do you break the cycle? How can you escape these anxious feelings of failure? Turn off the TV and take some notes my friends, because I’m about to school you on the art, style and skill of managing the you know what out of your own time.
Seriously, Just Start
Let’s begin with getting it all out on paper. Think of this blank sheet as your time management therapist. Just get it all out there. Write everything down! You can even write down the last 53 episodes of Love Island. Your grocery list. Call mom back. The point here is that you’re not hiding anything from yourself. The reality of your ‘things to get done’ is literally right in front of you. And it’s a doozy, but it’s the truth. And that’s a good thing.
Once you’ve written everything down, assign an amount of time to how long you estimate each task will take. It’s always a good idea to give yourself a bit of a buffer, especially if you’re anything like me and find easy distraction in a wayward email notification.
Energy Enhancement (or energy depletion)
So you’ve got your tasks, you’ve got your time, now give each line item some careful thought as to the value that it brings to your business. Assign each task a positive or negative feeling. This could be something as simple as pluses and minuses, or even assigning specific feelings to each. Which tasks light you up and energize you? What bums you out and makes you anxious?
Let’s put our calendar where our to-do list is, and schedule these bad boys out. Be thoughtful about this process. Try not to have days and/or weeks with negative activities that drain you and rob you of the motivation to keep pushing forward. Maybe that means if you finish three negative feeling tasks, you can watch one episode of Love Island! Maybe that means you take a day off and load the other days of the week with a mix of positive and negative. Play around with what motivates you to get your list complete.
And you’re done! Just kidding, you’re never done because the sun never sets on a hustler like yourself. Once you’ve scheduled out your tasks, take a moment each week to really lean into opportunities to outsource and delegate. Perhaps the minus tasks aren’t crucial to your business’s success. Perhaps you can outsource to an individual who’s an expert at that particular activity. Remember, if you’re not a position to delegate, you ARE in a position to prioritize.
Because is there anything better than putting a ✓ next to a task that you know is helping your customers, aiding your business and makes you feel good about yourself? I think not.