Guest Post by Mona Raglow:
Can you imagine making a decision to NOT brush your teeth a few times a day? What about deciding to NOT take a bath or shower for several days. How long could you go? Who would notice first? You? Those close to you?
That’s how I feel about planning. Sure, others might not notice, but to me, it’s like forgetting to shower or brush my teeth! (Actually I do think people notice, but it’s more important to me that I don’t FEEL chaotic!)
Here are my 3 top tips for reducing some of the chaos you might be living through:
1. Plan Your Week
One of my mantras is “Plan Weekly, Focus Daily”. I’ve found the time that works for me is Sunday evenings, and I usually spend 20-30 minutes on the process.
Here’s what it looks like:
I grab my monaplanner© (www.monaplanner.com), a cuppa tea and a comfy chair. Using the same space each week helps me develop and stick to the routine. I start with a "Brain Dump." I write down all of the tasks and projects that I need to focus on for the week, with no effort toward prioritizing or allocating time at this point. I just DUMP.
Next, I take a look at my upcoming week, writing in appointments on my "Daily Plan of Action." Then I transfer items from my "Brain Dump" page to my "Daily To Dos" section for each day of the week. It's important to put items on THE DAY you expect to accomplish each (don’t write your entire to-do list all on one page, or you’ll feel overwhelmed.) Any task or activity that is non-negotiable gets added to the “My 3 Biggies (Today)" section. Lastly, I write in my other tasks for the day. Sometimes this means taking a to-do item and moving it forward to another week--I just write it on that week’s "Brain Dump" page.
2. Focus Daily.
At the end of each day I’ll review my tasks, and move any un-done tasks to another day. The key here is to write the task on the day you plan to do it! Remember, don’t clutter your to-do list with things you don’t have time to do that day. Also, celebrate your successes, rather than focusing on what you didn’t get done!
3. Learn to Say No
The key is to do this with ease and grace. Studies show that as adults, we make about 35,000 decisions a day. What??? Most are defined as “remotely conscious decisions,” and many are even subconscious. Just typing this paragraph, I made hundreds of decisions.
Let’s think about the things we can consciously say no to…you know, the things we can really control. Have you promised a friend something out of guilt? Did you agree to head up the welcome committee at the new club you joined? Or did you agree to take someone’s car-pool slot because you knew they were over-extended (like you?) What about agreeing to go out to dinner with friends one night when you’d rather JUST STAY HOME? We’ve all done it.
Learning to say no, with ease and grace can sound like this:
“Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not able to help this time. Maybe next time.”
“I’m flattered you thought of me, but I think there is someone better suited to help.”
“I’m not the best person to help with that project.”
By saying no (with ease and grace) you’ll have more time for the things that mean the most to you. Beware: following the above steps will lead to less stress and increased efficiency!
Mona Raglow is a self-described time management and organizational junkie. She understands the pitfalls of trying to stay organized. Mona says, "I’ve never been happy with commercial planners. I felt they were too complicated, they stressed me out, and I didn’t utilize many of the features. I was flunking planning 101!!" That’s why the monaplanner© was born. It is easy to implement and simple to use--simplifying your life and supporting your success. Get in touch with Mona at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook and LinkedIn: https://www.facebook.com/monaplanner/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/monaraglow/