“When I meet with the founders of a new company, my advice is always, ‘Do fewer things,’ it’s true of partnerships, marketing opportunities, anything that’s taking up your time. The vast majority of things are distractions, and very few really matter to your success.” - Evan Williams
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can have it all, just not all at once?” I’ve found that the same philosophy can be applied to the number of tasks and to-dos you have going on in your life: you can do it all, just not all at once.
Our lives are filled with clutter. Whether our dishes are piling up in the sink, our inboxes have thousands of unread emails, or we have never-ending to-do lists that we can’t keep track of, it’s clear we have overcommitted ourselves in more ways than one.
While it may seem like an impossible task, you must figure out a way to whittle down your responsibilities, whether at work or in your personal life, so that you can properly allocate the time a given task deserves to get it done right.
So many of us are conditioned to say “yes” to any and all opportunities but to truly be successful, you need to learn to set boundaries and advocate for your own time.
Focus on what’s important and delegate or postpone the rest. By doing so, you’ll actually be able to accomplish more and you’ll have far less anxiety because you’ll have more control of your life. You’ll know you’re on the right path when the quality of your accomplishments becomes more important than the quantity.
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Take An Inventory
Whether they’re written, typed, or in your head, make a list of all the to-dos you have going on in your life, both personally and professionally. From there, decide what must get done immediately, what can wait, what can be delegated, and what simply doesn’t need to actually be done anymore. Creating this list will help you create priorities and reduce the stressful feeling of having a million things going on at once.
Conduct A Weekly Review
Setting aside time to get your ducks in a row and assess your priorities is not only important, it’s essential. The idea of a weekly review is very popular in the productivity world. Each week, put a time on your calendar for reflection. Review the list mentioned above, see what has changed, see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust to ensure you have the most efficient process moving forward.
Our lives often become so busy that we forget to actually take notice of the things we’re doing. Do they even bring us joy? One of the easiest ways to start taking things off your list is to be in the moment and see if what you’re doing really has a purpose or if you’re just going through the motions.
Remove “Multi-Tasking” From Your Vocabulary
Multitasking is counterproductive. While you think you’re being efficient with your time, you’re actually doing a subpar job at the tasks you’re trying to accomplish. On the road to success, if you wish to do something, do it well, and in order to do that, it requires your full attention. When it comes to crossing things off your list, develop a single-track mind.
Follow the Two-Minute Rule
Have you ever had a bill to pay but instead of taking 30 seconds to pay it, you just add it to your to-do list instead? We’ve all been there. Instead, if it takes less than two minutes, just do it! You’ll cross something off your list immediately, which will give you instant gratification, and you’ll keep something off your task list so that you can continue to focus on the current items on there that require more of your time.
Finish What You Start
Be honest, how many tabs do you have open on your computer right now? If you’re the average person, it’s a lot, and it often represents the number of things a person is working on at any given time. To avoid unnecessary stress and a continuous pileup of tasks, don’t start another task until the one you’re working on has been completed. The sense of completion will fuel you to tackle something else, as opposed to having that “something else” feel like a burden.
Keep Your Eyes Open For Opportunities
When you have fewer things going on in your life, you’ll be more observant of new and exciting opportunities that come your way. If you’re trying to focus on a bunch of things at once, it’s hard to bring your head up for air and take in everything else that’s going on around you. By reducing your to-do list items, you’ll be able to more aptly accommodate to-dos that you want on your list, not just ones that have to be on your list.
Food for thought: What are three items you can delegate or remove from your list today?
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