In the last 5 months, have you been mastering these 9 essential skills for busy people? If so, you’re now able to . . .
- Sketch out a plan for every day.
- Automate components of your life.
- Estimate the amount of time you need to accomplish a task.
- Delete, diminish, delegate, and delay non-urgent and non-essential items on your list.
- Motivate yourself by matching activities to goals.
- Optimize your time by double-dipping in your goals.
- Batch like tasks.
- Work with your energy levels.
- Adapt to intrusions.
If you still feel too busy, focus on these five additional skills for seizing control of your time:
Differentiating among types of tasks
Before you can tackle your monster to-do list, you need to get a grip on what you’re facing.
That’s why it’s critical that you categorize every task you have.
What does that mean? Scan your list and see which activities are important, urgent, and simply loud. Wherever possible, cross out the loud, unimportant, non-urgent tasks, and focus your attentions on the rest.
If you think that cleaning rapidly is a born skill, think again. It’s 100% learnable.
All it takes is some practice and a few cleaning, multi-tasking tips.
I love Ruth Soukup, and she offers a whirlwind approach to cleaning her home. (Admittedly, I truly can’t get on board with doing all of those chores every single day, but more power to you, Ruth!)
For me, the secret to speed-tidying is entirely about having the foundation of an organized, clean home.
If you work to maintain your home on a regular basis, then whipping your house into presentable shape is just a matter of organizing the little bit that’s gotten messy lately. It’s not about deep cleaning or organizing from scratch.
Build your foundation, and speed-tidying will become something you can easily do.
Waking up on time
Since having a kid (or maybe even being pregnant with one), this one has become a challenge for me.
My toddler is ever-enthusiastic about the start of the day, so sleeping in on the weekends is a distant memory. As a result, I think my husband and I both enjoy mild to moderate sleep deprivation on a regular basis.
That said, I still believe strongly in the power of waking up on time.
If you are late getting up, you start your morning by playing catch-up . . . forcing yourself to be reactive instead of proactive in your day. That makes you so much less efficient and productive.
So get up when your alarm clock orders you to. Do some stretches, chug a pint of coffee, or observe in a 2-year-old’s 7 A.M. private dance party. Then jump on in to your day!
Committing to writing it all down
Whether you’re mildly sleep deprived or fully rested, your brain will benefit from unloading.
It is so hard to concentrate on being creative, being present, and focusing on the moment when your poor noggin is trying to remember 5, 10, or 50 things.
Write it down. Free your brain.
Use a planner to capture your goals, action steps, meetings, to-do lists, items to buy, people to call, and whatever else is rattling around in your head.
Remembering hidden time costs
My husband and I recently wanted to swap out the old, cheap, and mismatched bookcases we had in our study for a nice, matching pair we’d acquired from his grandparents.
At first, it seemed as though we’d just have to move two bookcases out and carry some new ones in, but there were some hidden, time-consuming tasks we had to consider — things like taking all of our books off the old shelves, walking the books to and organizing them neatly in another room, dusting off the new bookcases, and piecing together the shelves with all of those tiny support pegs.
The total amount of time we needed was much more than just the time required to move two shelf sets out and two more in.
When you go to complete a project or a task, consider all of the elements involved. Are you forgetting travel time? Time necessary to gather the equipment you need? Time needed for your casserole to cool down before you freeze it?
Whatever your task, go over each step of the process in your head before you plan to complete it. Look for hidden time costs. That way, you’ll minimize the likelihood that you’ll run out of time before you can complete it.
Which of these skills do you have the most trouble mastering?