It can be hard to get the important stuff done
Do you ever get to the end of a busy day having done a great deal, but feeling frustrated that you haven't got the important stuff done? When the same things are on your to-do-list for several weeks, it's a good sign that you are not getting done all that you would like! So why is this?
It is easy to get caught up with what feels to be urgent and fail to complete the important things. There will be lots of activities, tasks and commitments, for both work and home, which need your attention. There are phone calls and interruptions that may result in extra tasks on your to-do-list, not to mention email! Then there are all the distractions available to you, inviting procrastination to take hold. And so that exciting new project you want to start, or the trip you really want to book, never happens.
How to get the important stuff done
It's all about planning - Make time for those things that are important to you and schedule space in your diary. Treat it as important and resist the urge to let other things take this time slot.
Do the most important things first - This is all about resisting distractions! Do important stuff at the beginning of your day before you get distracted by other tasks. For example, emails can usually wait! If you can't do it first thing, then schedule a time each day which will work for you.
Resist being reactive - Don't simply react to stuff coming at you. For example, checking emails first thing can be a mistake! Check if something really is urgent and whether it warrants taking time away from important tasks. Prevent unexpected things taking your time, let your answerphone take your calls and ask not to be disturbed.
Remember why it is important - Ask yourself what it would mean to you to get something significant completed. How will you feel, and what difference will it make to you? Understanding why something is important helps you to get motivated and realise what could be.
Clearly define the task - Often, we don't do important stuff because it feels too big a task, or we don't know where to start! Break bigger tasks down into manageable chunks and plan each stage to make it more achievable.
Set a deadline - There is nothing like a deadline to get stuff done. Setting deadlines, and sticking to them, will help with motivation to stay on track with your plans. This will prevent items just being an aspirational item on your to-to-list.
Work out what is stopping you from doing something - Understanding why you are not getting stuff done will help you to put a plan in place and deal with it. Ask yourself: is it a lack of planning, not enough time or just too many distractions? Or is it simply not that important in the first place?
The measure of a good day is not about getting more done, but about getting the important stuff done. Rather than getting caught up with the demands of the day, leaving you feeling stressed and frustrated, prioritise to make the important stuff happen. The result will be a deep sense of satisfaction that, at the end of a day, you have achieved something important.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog
My name is Diane Benson and I support busy professionals to be more effective, reduce stress and achieve a healthy balance in life. Providing clarity and focus for a more fulfilling personal and professional life.
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