You can use one or more of these techniques so you don’t feel like you’re teetering on the edge of a cliff most of the time, hanging on, but always ready to fall off and wipe out. We all have too many roles to fulfill and details to remember to be able to do everything perfectly. The trick, then, is what to do first and what to let go altogether. You can combine methods to customize your approach.
Make an appointment with yourself to plan your week
At first this may take an hour, but you’ll quickly adapt and it will only take a short time to sit down and work through your week.
- Mark down existing meetings and appointments. Are there any you don’t actually need to attend and can get out of attending?
- Review your personal and professional goals and incorporate them into your week. Specify blocks of time to learn that new professional software, play catch with your daughter, speed-walk during lunch, or whatever your goals might be. Make appointments for these on your calendar. Include progressive goals for long-term projects: This week you’ll finish the project sketches and have a team meeting, next week you’ll complete the written presentation. Or this week you’ll teach your daughter how to catch with a catcher’s mitt; next week you’ll start teaching her how to catch at different angles and heights.
- Leave time during the week to deal with surprises. You want to be able to participate in a promotion-positive work project that just popped up, or to make it to your son’s competition when he tries out for the Academic Bowl team without telling anyone.
- Advantage: You stay on top of all your different roles and goals. Disadvantage:This detailed approach may be hard and not successful for people who aren’t naturally detail-oriented.
Put your hardest and most important goals first
If you’re not into sitting down with a detailed calendar, and you’re good with remembering things, then simply start each day and each week with your most difficult and most important tasks. The result of this is that your week will get progressively easier as you go.
- Advantage: Lets you charge into your day/week immediately and have a more relaxed Friday. Disadvantage: Depends largely on memory. People forget things.
Set your goals, then say No
Decide what needs to get done this week to meet your personal and professional goals, and say No ruthlessly to extras.
- Advantage: You can go straight into your day, and everything you do contributes directly to your goals. Disadvantage: You don’t have flexibility to take on a new activity with the kids or a promising new project at work.
The one thing all of these methods have in common is that they’re set up to serve your goals. Your goals drive them. A happy, successful life for you starts with your goals. If something you’re doing doesn’t serve your goals, perhaps it’s time to make a change.
Let your own personal and professional goals be the horse that pulls your scheduling wagon along in life – not the other way around.