I stopped this morning to look at my To-Do List for the week, and I realized real quickly that my goals and plans were not connected to my reality!
One of the biggest problems we have in managing our lives, our schedule and the tasks we need to complete is that we have a hard time grounding these things in reality. We don’t like to believe that we can’t do it all and get it all done on time.
Here are some tips to help you to be more realistic in your planning:
#1) Have Control of Your Schedule
In order to plan, you need to know what’s coming up and what’s going on. I am constantly asking my wife, my kids, my friends and my co-workers what is going on! I then try to put everything on the calendar that has the potential to impact my life and my time. I want to know what to expect so I can plan around it. This may drive people crazy, but one of the most important steps in planning is simply knowing what may or may not impact your life.
#2) Write Things Down
It doesn’t matter where you write them down, or whether you use your computer, phone, pad or legal pad. Write things down and double-check to be sure that you’re not missing anything. Put a note pad by your bed and in your car so that when something comes to you, you can write it down and not forget it. Try to find a way to “blend” appointments and scheduling so that you’re not overlapping.
#3) Plan for interruptions
Many of us make great plans, but we forget to put margin in our planning. Here’s something I’ve learned: You will always be interrupted! Plan for it. Last week, the electricity went out in my office for 2 hours. That affected my plans. Yesterday, traffic was backed up and I was 10 minutes late to an appointment. interruptions will come. Don’t pack things so tight that you have no space!
#4) Know your Limitations
Sometimes we set lofty goals and think we can do it all. There are things that you may not be able to accomplish. Know what you can do, what you should do, and what you should not do. Learn to say NO. By doing this, you’re able to focus on the things that are most important.
As you look to tomorrow, next week or even next year, try to be more realistic in the things you CAN get done. Look at your schedule, set time aside, focus on the most important things, and try to be a little more grounded in reality. Life does not need to perpetually be surrounded in chaos, panic and pressure. Do all you can to avoid this!
Visit the Getting Things Done pages for more tips!