Time management is a journey – not a destination. Becoming more efficient and effective is a goal, a mission, a vision – not a stopping point. Excelling in the area of time management means something different for each of us. I’m curious … where are you in your time management journey?
As I work with clients – I find they usually fall into one of three categories.
- Trying to get your head above water.
- Trying to get into your boat.
- Trying to sail your boat.
When you are in the “trying to get your head above water” stage, usually you are in a state of overwhelm. You have too many tasks to complete each day. Your brain feels fuzzy. You wake up in the middle of the night fearing that you forgot something important. You feel unprepared. You run late. You feel this sense of stress – and many times can’t even identify why.
When you are in this stage, all your focus goes into just surviving day by day. Sometimes this stage is brought on by an event (taking care of an ailing parent, relocating, starting a business, etc.) and lasts until the event is over. Other times, this stage can last years as “life” gets busier and busier and busier and busier … until you hit a state of overwhelm.
What can you do if you are trying to just get your head above water?
- Take 30 minutes just for you. When you are rushing from one activity and task to another, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. It’s hard to make decisions. Take 30 minutes to just relax.
- Get “it” all out of your head. Create a brain dump – list EVERYTHING that you’ve been “trying to remember”. Trying to keep on top of a number of details can also add to the feeling of overwhelm. Capture the details on paper or on an app.
- Prioritize. You are currently experiencing overload. What is most important? If you can only accomplish one thing today, what would it be? Narrow your focus to just one.
- Get support. Where can you find help? You are not an island. Reach out for support.
- Schedule a “turn around day.” A turn around day is when you reset your systems, “catch-up”, and do some proactive planning. This is also your port in the storm. You know if you can just get through the next few days until your turn around day, a better path is waiting.
Once you start to get your head above water, then you can focus on getting into your boat, and then finally on sailing your boat.
But, first things first, start now to reduce your overwhelm. One step at a time.
It’s your turn! What tools do you use to keep your head above water? Or would you like some support to stay afloat? Please post below!