I’m often confronted with this rhetorical question or some variant of it: ‘I don’t know how you do it’? Referring to my ability to find the time to do the many things I do. Usually I jokingly give an answer which goes something like this: ‘ I don’t know either’!
I’m involved in a lot of things. I create passionately. I’m an active member of a couple of art organizations; I’m even a webmaster for one. I do administrative work for yet another organization. I volunteer for charitable events, I mentor a youth group,…… the list is just endless. Even I get overwhelmed sometimes when I wake up in the morning and mentally ran through my list of things to accomplish for the day.
Time management is something that deters many people from venturing out and pursuing their dreams. All the stars are never going to align for us nor are a couple more hours going to be added to our daily allotment of 24 hours. There will always be reasons why it doesn’t make sense to pursue your dreams; reasons to stick with your regular routine and not to take on one more task; and one of those reasons is time.
So how do I do it?
1. Have a to-do list: As I alluded to earlier, I do keep a mental list of what I need to do for the day. However, my main (need I say, ‘reliable’) to-do list is an electronic one. I can conveniently check what I need to do by looking at my phone, which is almost always with me.
2. Prioritize: More often than not, there are just too many things on my to-do list to complete in a day. So how do I choose projects to work on for the day? I prioritize. There are many things on our to-do lists which if not completed, will not be so terrible (even though we often convince ourselves otherwise). And there are those which will really mess things up for us or stress us immensely. if not done. I believe the most important part of time management is this – to be able to decide what falls in each of these two categories by prioritizing.
3. Give Yourself Lots of Time: The next thing I do is allot lots of time for each item on my priority tasks list. There’s no point trying to cram too many activities into the time I have. Not everything will get done. I try to be realistic. I try not to set myself up for failure. Failing to make a good dent in my to-do list will certainly increase my stress levels and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid here.
4. Reward Yourself: This is where I do something special for myself. I include one project which will give me great joy to do. It could be something as simple as trying out a novel technique (aka play) or going out for a long walk. This here is my secret to stress-free time management. The satisfaction from having accomplished this special item is able to fuel my entire day. At the end of the day, I’m able to look back with some sense of fulfillment/ joy no matter how the other items on my to-do list went.
5. Do The Work: Invest the time needed to do what you planned to do. Don’t get yourself distracted. Sit in that chair till you get it done. Turn off the TV or your electronic device or whatever distracts you and just do it. Believe it or not, without distractions, it takes only a short time to get a lot accomplished. Take a break every now and then. Usually I’ll take a short break when I see major progress, a sort of reward, you can say. But you must get right back in your ‘doing’ chair since that’s where the work gets done.
This is how I’m able to do a lot without so much stress and yet a lot of fulfillment. How do you do it? Head over to the comments section and share your opinions on the topic. What do you think about my techniques?
Thanks for reading.