A close friend proudly announces each day, how much she has on her plate for the day. At the end of each week she declares her week the busiest and craziest or simply her sheer exhaustion. She’s also a multi-tasker supreme. She can brush her teeth, drink her coffee, start a Zoom meeting and do her make-up while plaiting her child’s hair and planting spring vegetables.
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That’s what it feels like to me, anyway.
But she’s always overwhelmed – and she works from the moment she wakes up to way beyond any healthy bedtime.
Does this sound like you? I don’t need to tell you that something is wrong. It could be one of three things.
- You don’t know how to prioritise
- You can’t say no
- You’re addictively procrastinating
The greatest gift you can give yourself as a busy person, is self-mastery over these bad habits, and yes, that’s what they are – bad habits.
Here’s a truism: all of us have the same amount of time every day. Consider for a moment, a few people you look up to as role models or whose success and control you admire. Guess what? They’re all working off the same foundation as you: 24 hours in one day. What makes some of those people successful is how they manage their time.
Let’s begin with prioritisation. In the interests of saving time, here is what is known as the Eisenhower Urgent/Important Matrix. It really comes down to one thing: if it’s not important, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Do this little exercise: make a list of your tasks for tomorrow and then place each one in one of the blocks below:
Check again, that you have been objective and ruthless in where you place the activities.
This type of planning shows where you have room to say ‘No’. First try to delegate a task. If it is essential that you are involved then say yes, BUT negotiate the deadline and plan accordingly (Quadrant 2).
If, however, it’s urgent AND important, and you’re already ‘full’, say no – and offer to help next time. If you want others to respect your time, you have to lead by example. Respect yourself first. Your colleagues will learn to, as well.
If you’ve just felt your stomach turn when reading that, you may need some more support in learning how to say no. Start by speaking to someone like a therapist, councillor, friend or coach. Maybe a colleague or even your boss could assist. They know that you’re only human: is it just you who never got that memo?
Image by Sonja Langford on Unsplash
If saying no is not your problem, but Procrastination is, head here for some solid advice. Now. Not later.
(Yes, I’m clicking my tongue!)
Needless to say, I would recommend professional help like a therapist, counsellor or Life Coach if this behaviour starts having a negative impact on your life and / or career. Contact me if you’d like to chat about this: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our first, free, session will give us both a good idea of where you could think of making positive changes.