I walk into my office and there it is, staring me in the face, almost laughing at me…piles everywhere, otherwise known as: My Massive TO DO List. So many times I feel so overwhelmed that I just turn around and walk out the door. I don’t know where to start, so I do nothing.
We all have them, there’s no denying it. Maybe your piles are like mine scattered all throughout your office, maybe you have color-coded them and filed them in your computer, or maybe you’ve downloaded one of the many apps on your iPhone. But no matter where you keep them, they always seem to be lurking in the background, reminding us that we don’t have enough hours in the day.
So what can you do to gain control? Well, I’ve come up with three easy techniques that have helped me master my piles – at least, most of the time:
Learn to say “no.”: Stop adding to your never ending list of things to do. There is always another book to read, another webinar to watch or another podcast to listen to. But the real problem is that you already have so much great information from the past books and webinars and podcasts you’ve invested time and money in. Take that hour and apply it to all that valuable information you already have sitting in those pretty color-coded files.
Make a file folder for each day of the week: Label them Monday through Sunday. Then, as something comes up that you need to accomplish on a specific day, put it in the appropriate folder. This has helped me immensely. I check my day folder each morning and it helps to keep me on track for the day. There, right in front of me, is my “to do” list for the next 24 hours. I can stay focused and it keeps me from chasing the next shiny object. Pick a file holder that is fun and inspires you. Check out the office supply stores -I’ve seen some lovely ones there.
Celebrate your small successes: Many times we are so focused on the big projects and what we didn’t get done that we get frustrated and overwhelmed. But what if we celebrated our small successes along the way, like making it to your appointment totally prepared, or serving a dinner that was actually pretty good. By celebrating our small accomplishments, it gives us the courage and belief to tackle the bigger ones.
I can’t lie – I still have piles, but by using these three “tricks,” I find them more manageable and I’m not driving myself crazy. Give these a try and let me know which one works best for you.