Balance is another no-brainer. This is something that every adult in America probably struggles to achieve. We are trained from birth that being busy equates to being successful and loved. We compare our schedules. “You think you’re busy? You should see my schedule!” I’m sure we’ve all heard these words from our friends, coworkers, family members… ourselves. We are so busy that something must always be done, and it seems as if balance is unachievable. The thought if I could just catch up, everything will be fine lingers in front of us as a glimmer of hope that is always just out of reach. I’m here to tell you one simple fact: you will never catch up. Ever.
Is this a reason to give up? Of course not. I want to tell you how to make your time more efficient. When you are able to do this, you can be busy and still feel balance. First, you have to look at your priorities. Get out a pen and paper, and write your priorities in life. These might be family, career, relationships, etc. Now take a look at all the things that you have on your schedule. Do these events fit within your priorities? If they don’t fit, these are events that you might think about saying no to in the future.
If you are overwhelmed and you don’t use a schedule or to-do list, it’s time to create one. You can’t feel balance or success if you are trying to remember everything in your head. That is too much to ask of anyone. Take out your paper and pen again. Write down all the things you need to accomplish this week. Once completed, star the items that you must get done today. Put them in your phone, in a planner, or write them on a clean sheet of paper that you will keep with you. I prefer a phone. It’s always around, and it’s less likely to be lost than a sheet of paper.
Once your to-do today list is complete, find the item on the list that is your “frog.” Brian Tracy discusses the art of “eating your frog” each day. Sage advice. He discusses the importance of doing the most dreaded task of the day first. Usually, the task that we despise the most is actually the one that helps us carry out other things on our list faster. When we work from a list efficiently and systematically, we can accomplish more than we thought possible. It also allows us to gain more time. Tracy claims, “You can increase your productivity and output by 25 percent or more–about two hours a day–from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.” Think about it. Don’t you sometimes waste time running around in circles trying to remember what it is you were going to accomplish? Wasted time. Don’t you sometimes do some of your smaller tasks first and take your sweet time because you don’t want to do “that dreaded task”? Wasted time. When you do the worst task first, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Also, there is a good chance that completing this task made others achievable or unnecessary once it was accomplished.
Knowing that you can create a list that could save you up to two hours will add balance to your life. What could you achieve with two more unanticipated hours in your day?
Make that list. Eat your frog. Get extra time. Gain balance.