I don’t know about you but my life is mad, crazy, busy running a complex business and being the best single Mum that I can be while also taking care of my health, having fun and taking control of my financial destiny.
None of us have time for wasting our lives on distractions and yet it is so easy to be distracted in this world of information overload and being constantly available through our devices.
It takes discipline to focus on important activity that takes you toward your goals instead of being distracted by everybody else’s demands.
Don’t end up in a destination that you didn’t consciously choose!
The simple answer: scheduling!
Or rather, the process of scheduling, which I like to call “Dump, Chunk and Do”; it’s a fairly simple 3 step process that requires about 10 to 20 minutes a day. Allow me to explain:
Step 1: Dump
As the saying goes, the one thing constant in life is change. Because of change, our priorities change; things that were once important and/or urgent get moved to the back-burner and other “nice to have” tasks suddenly pop into the forefront of our attention. Because of this, we need a system to make sure that we can keep track of all the tasks in our heads without losing them.
This is where Dumping comes into play. Having a Dump list is like a traditional “to do” list, but it allows you to clear the mental space and focus those tasks into an inventory. Having such an inventory of tasks can and will grow over time and can seem like a lot to manage. Luckily, there’s Step 2.
Step 2: Chunk
Chunking is the means by which we organize our task inventory. I prefer to place tasks into logical grouping or categories. For added benefit (which I will explain later), I also like to colour-code these categories, such that I may focus on the various aspects of my personal and professional life.
Step 3: Do
Once Chunked, identify those important/urgent tasks that need to get done immediately.
For each of your categories, prioritise your top 5 – 10 items/tasks and then schedule those tasks on the day that you want to do them. Chunk the colours together into groups so that you can focus on one category at a time rather than randomly flitting from one task to another. (you can do this on paper, through Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar or my personal favorite: My Best Year Ever!)
Why group colours together in my calendar system?
You will be more effective if you practice scheduling your energy as suggested. It takes a different kind of energy to work on finance than it does working on long term visions and goals. This also allows you to be flexible and save time and as you have now already categorised your tasks it should be easy.
For instance, imagine that you are planning a party or sporting event and you have Chunked some ideas into one of your categories and scheduled those “Do” tasks for next Wednesday in your calendar. As you think of other ideas for the event, you can simply refer to your calendar of Do tasks (use the colour coding wherever possible) and drop or add new tasks as needed.
This will give you peace of mind that you are in control, remaining spontaneous and safe in the knowledge that you will complete everything at the most efficient time by scheduling your own life.
The system, of course, also works for scheduling all business related activity as well. You can collect ideas for business related projects and leave them in your Chunk columns (marketing, product development, sales) until you are ready to work on them. Make sure that your business Chunks align to your Vision and goals to prioritise your work flow against the pressure of too many demands. YOU decide !
Remember to reward yourself for your ongoing scheduling prowess. Tick the items that you complete as you go along and keep a week by week colour coded record of your achievements (useful for appraisals too! )
Scheduling is like exercise for the mind. By committing to the scheduling process every day you will achieve more, remain on focus and all while having the peace of mind that you have a system for handling the chaos of everyday living.