So. I’m sitting here with this list.
The To-Do List.
When faced with a bunch of things that have to be done, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. Do you have a list like that? Do you hyperventilate when you contemplate it? Some folks get so freaked out that they pass the point where they can be effective at doing anything, including typing out a list. So it’s best to review and see what one has in front of one.
“I have to pick up the fundraising stuff today? Really? Does it have to be today?”
“Shoot! Forgot the doctor’s appointment in the morning.”
“They want how many summaries? By Monday? Seriously?”
“Oh yeah..the editing project…right. Sure, I can have it done by Saturday.”
“Out of t-shirts? Of course I’ll have them and your uniforms washed.”
…and so on.
You know how it is.
I refuse to get stressed about the LIST, however. There is no point. I never forget that I am only one woman with only one set of hands. The key is to prioritize. And when I do that, I don’t allow myself to think ahead too far on that list. Because…really…does it help?
So, when you are faced with a list, lay it all out for yourself, including the small side-jobs that get in the way. Defrosting the chicken for dinner, picking up dry cleaning, paying the bills, cleaning the window blinds, getting that manicure. Write it all down.
Then, put things in the order of when they have to be done. Not when you want to do them or how important you feel they are. Just number them by deadline, with #1 being the thing that is due earliest. Continue down the list until you assign numeric rankings to things that do have deadlines. Some things, let’s face it, do not. Not hard ones, anyway.
When you have your list organized, just focus on the first thing without badgering yourself about the rest of that list. Can you really go to soccer practice with your daughter while handling that conference call? No. So don’t kick yourself or make yourself feel in any way at fault because of your schedule. Just do the next thing on the list and move on.
Sometimes, you can do things concurrently. Like laundry. One can wash the uniforms while one is on that call. Or while one is writing a column or what have you. Laundry is great that way. Multitasking made easy.
Take a breath. Cross stuff off your LIST. Be proud of yourself.
And then, get back to work. One thing at a time.
My mother always told me that if you wanted something done, ask a busy person to do it. It’s not that they’ve got more time, but that they’ve learned to manage it better. It’s a skill and it can be learned.
I know, because I had to learn how, too.