Do you feel torn among all of your obligations? Are you doing one task while thinking about what is going to happen next? Is the quality of your work compromised due to the rush to get to the next item on your list? Then you are a fairly normal human being. We all (me included) try to squeeze too much into 24 hours. If you are a list maker, there is nothing more satisfying than scratching an item off of the list, but sometimes I have to add it back on the list the next day because I hurried it a little too much. Here are three strategies to expand the time in your day and to improve the quality of your work.
1. Give each item a time slot.
When setting up your day (the night before is best), assign the amount of time you believe each item will take - THEN ADD A BUFFER. If you think it will take 10 minutes, assign 15 minutes to the task. If you think it will take 2 hours, assign 2 hours and 20 minutes to the task. Make sure to put in specific times to return calls, answer emails, take a break and stare into space, eat, get up and stretch, etc. Design your ideal day. The idea is to at least start with a designed day that is more evenly paced. NOW HONOR THOSE TIME SLOTS. If you finish an item faster than expected, take time to review what you did and check it for quality. Or is there something more you would have liked to do on this item if you had more time. Now you do. Do not try to get ahead in order to add tasks to your day. You designed a day the night before that would make you happy, so be happy with it, as is. I keep a stuffed sloth on my desk, Slo-Mo is his name, to remind me to slow down, do the job right and enjoy my day,
2. Give more than 100%
List all of the obligations in your life - career/profession, family/parenting, health maintenance, personal development, spiritual awareness, fun & enjoyment, relationships, both intimate and social, personal finance, etc. What percentage of your time do you devote to each one over a month? Now add up the percentages. Did your percentages add up to 100%?
Let's change our perspective. What I do in coaching is ask people to look at things in a different way. The world is a perceptual illusion. That doesn't mean that the blue Buick in front of our house doesn't physically exist. Everyone who walks by is going to see basically the same object (unless they are color blind); however, one person may see the Buick and reminisce fondly of how their grandfather always bought a Buick. Another person may see it and remember being in a horrible crash last year with a similar car. Two different perceptual illusions which will prompt two very different emotions.
So look at your list and write 100% out beside each category. Now for the next month, when you are working in that area, give 100%. Passionately throw yourself into it. Just as in strategy #1, allow time for this area of your life and don't let the other areas bleed over into it. If you are with family, be 100% with family. If you are in your time for personal or spiritual development, don't mentally tip-toe into another area. What this will do is to make all areas of your life equally important. This way if an area is suddenly taken away, you can fill the gap with other areas which are as important as the missing segment.
3. Make huge jobs a bunch of little jobs.
This is a direct steal from www.flylady.net, a site you should look at if house cleaning and clutter removal is your demon. Any big job can be done in tiny segments. You can put in 24 hours of work on April 14 to get your taxes ready. Or you could put in 20 minutes a day, five days a week, starting January 1. With just 15 minutes a day, you can completely clean out that nightmare of a garage or basement in one month. Big proposal due next month? Think of it as a 30 minute a day item twice a week. You will never feel overwhelmed again.
If these work for you, let me know. I love hearing both positive and negative feedback. I also welcome any of your time expanding tips. If I include them in my blog, I will send you a nice gift of botanically based skin or nutritional product.