One of my favorite sayings when working with clients is “my kingdom for a paperclip.” When I use this typically I’m referring to having a big project stall due to lack of planning or not keeping an eye on the details.

In your attempt to build your capacity, you are doing a great job keeping the big picture in mind. You may be using the Rule of Three as a strategy. Maybe you have a vision board or you revisit your big picture plan daily. Regardless – you are keeping the big idea in mind.

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However, the “little stuff,” the maintenance activities, still need to be completed – maybe not by you, but certainly by someone! These maintenance activities include both personal and professional tasks.

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A few examples to get you started . . .

  • Grocery shopping
  • Clean house / office
  • Meal prep
  • Exercise plan
  • Laundry
  • Water plants
  • Read newsletters and blog posts
  • Define “next steps” on active projects
  • Review delegated activities (are you waiting for anything to come back?)
  • Return to zero (clear inboxes)
  • Update tracking numbers (financial, marketing, etc.)
  • Back up your computer
  • Plan clothes for the week
  • Set all appointment reminders
  • Phone calls
  • Errands
  • Paperwork
  • Websites (that you check regularly)

If you fall behind in any of these activities, your day (and possibly week) can run out of control. Not grocery shopping can lead to no food, which leads to eating out, which usually leads to a decrease in money and an increase in weight.

So – how do you find the balance?

First, create your maintenance list. It may take a few weeks of tracking to capture everything. A key point to remember as you plan to plan – you only have 168 hours in each week, so you’ll need to be conscious of how you currently use those 168 hours in order to determine what exactly should be on your list. (Read on for a gift to help you with this process.)

Second, delegate ANY maintenance tasks that you can. Many of these items can be delegated; in fact, with enough thought and creativity, I bet ALL of these items could be delegated. However, if you insist on doing them all yourself, continue reading.

Third, schedule time to do these tasks with the following structure in mind.

  • You MAY NOT schedule maintenance tasks during your Biological Prime Time!
  • You must decide if you are going to devote a chunk of time at once for these activities, or if you are going to slide a couple in each day.

Some clients find they are more efficient doing all low thinking, low energy tasks at once. Others like to insert one or two each day as a mental break between high impact activities.  Choose the approach that works best for you.

Finally, rinse and repeat as needed.

These tips will help you manage how many of your 168 weekly hours you use to take care of the details, but I have more support for you. My Magic 168 Action Guide offers additional structure and planning tips to make sure you’re never again shouting “My kingdom for a paper clip!” Download your own complimentary copy of the guide here – my gift to you!

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