Does your home or office feel like a collection of unfinished tasks? For me, both spaces often felt that way. Until I decided to change things.
If you often feel overwhelmed, or think that your to-do list is never ending, keep reading… especially if you (like me) can be easily distracted.
Take a minute and see if this sounds familiar:
You are walking through your house. Every few steps, do you find that you are taking a mental inventory what you should add to your list of to-do’s? “Remember to organize that shelf…. Oh, I think those need to go to the dry cleaner….Did that appointment get scheduled? Geez, the garage is getting messy again, I’ll have the kids clean it up.”
You might think you are multitasking or just covering your bases. The truth? You are cluttering your brain, which leads to less effective work and actually makes you feel more frazzled.
Your schedule may be hectic and you feel like you are always busy, but are you actually productive with your time? This kind of unstructured “task inventory” habit is the killer of effective time management and the birth child of “not enough time in the day.”
Avoid “busy but not productive” pitfalls by using this simple two-step change:
1. Rewrite your schedule
Create a time of day, or day of the week to take a “task inventory.” During this time you can go through and assess exactly what needs to be done and what your priorities are. Write this down. Once you have established what must be done, find time within your schedule to get that project done. Make sure you are managing your time well, and are making realistic goals.
2. Rewire your brain
This second point takes serious commitment but is well worth it. DO NOT ALLOW your brain to think about extra tasks.
This is the most important (and often most challenging piece of the efficiency puzzle).
When you are intentional about your time and commit to focus on your scheduled task, it’s much easier to ignore doing other jobs (like organizing the junk drawer) on a whim. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make time to clean the junk drawer out, but make sure you don’t let yourself justify doing other tasks during this time.
Setting aside time to take inventory and consciously focusing your attention will keep your brain from becoming a junk drawer of swirling thoughts. Can you relate?
When we are not intentional about our thoughts, time and energy, we are not living an intentional life. When you are intentional, days are successful, goals are achieved, and it becomes simple to find fulfillment along the way.
If you are ready for less frazzle in your day, commit to this simple strategy. Better yet, share this mentality with a friend and keep each other in check.
A version of this article appeared on mollyfreestone.com. It has been republished here with permission.