Ditch the junk to get more done
It’s December already. For many people, this means parties with colleagues, dinners with treasured friends, and relaxation time with your family.
There’s usually some time off from work, and eventually after all the festivals, you slow down to a semi-frantic pace.
In the meantime, I’m sure many of you look at your calendar, and your workload, wondering how you’ll get it all done. The trick is a mental spring cleaning long before the New Year.
Everyone carries around an immense amount of baggage, gathered year on year. They drag it around until it gets ticked off the list – or you fall over from the sheer weight of your workload. But, it doesn’t need to be this way. You can easily let go of a suitcase or two of mental junk. The lighter load will make you more productive – and you may even feel physically lighter.
Pull out your to do list (which by now is probably longer than the fine print on your insurance documents). It probably has a number of items your brain refuses to address. It’s these mental mind blocks that are holding you back from achieving the tasks you truly need to achieve. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Irrelevant and unnecessary tasks
Everyone has these on their to do lists. Maybe you can’t see yours, but if you’re not getting through all your tasks, then they’re on there somewhere.
They might look like this:
- catch up on the ironing
- reorganise the stationary cupboard in the office
- develop a new template for assistant reporting at the office
For the record, the ironing is never truly up to date, unless you can’t find stationary – it doesn’t need a new system, and your assistants should be tasked with at least beginning the development of their reports.
You may believe that you’re the only one who can accomplish these tasks, and maybe you should have the final say, but you are too busy for these sorts of items to be on your list.
Action! Just cross them off (or delegate them if you must). They don’t truly matter.
- A year ago you promised a colleague that you would help them learn excel.
- A month ago you told your brother that you would be happy to proof read a novel he is writing.
- A week ago you promised your friend they could borrow a DVD.
- Yesterday you promised yourself that you’d replace that old tea set.
These are all lovely things to offer – when you have the time to do them. But, for as long as you aren’t getting through them, they stay on your list until the point of absolute guilt. Don’t destroy your relationships by allowing sullen thoughts to cloud your ability to work (and to play).
Action! Go back to the people who are waiting on you, let them know that you want to help, but you just can’t. Then cross these items off the list. If they’re sturdy relationships, they’ll keep until you have more time.
All the little things
For some people, their to do lists are more than just dotted with small tasks; their covered with them.
These items read: call John back, schedule the car for a service, reply to Cousin Mary’s email, double check the first aid kit before kids’ football season, sort receipts for accountant, sew buttons back onto red shirt, and millions of other small tasks that really do need to be done.
You’ve got to get them off your list, and off your mind – otherwise they are just swimming around when you need to focus.
Action! – Schedule a day to get through these tedious things – and then just do them. Think of how delightful it will feel when you can cross vast amounts off your list in one go.
With a million things on your mind, it’s tough to remain focused, and therefore, productive. And that’s what your to do list represents – all the things your mind must deal with. Some times just looking at your list can cause stress and guilt. You’ll find that just ditching the junk will allow you to do the things that actually count.
Take Action right now!
Try it out for yourself. Make a list right now of three things that you can delegate or remove from your to do list. There, doesn’t that feel better already?
Please let us know how you get on by posting a response. The more we know what helps you, the more we tailor our posts to do just that.
This is part of Spring Clean your Life month on the Rethink blog – getting you ready for those shiny New Year resolutions that are coming up very soon.
Catch up with us next week when we take a look at another topic concerning every busy person – their friendships.
And check these other great posts about tidying up your life
And as always please share your comments below. We love to hear from you!