If you have an endless list of tasks that need to be done, and most of us do, it can be overwhelming. The list just gets longer and longer each day because you can’t get today’s list completed, and more tasks just keep coming at you.
If you can pare your list of to-dos down the most important tasks, you can keep your planning and time management system simple. A simple list of the 3-5 most important things is all that nearly anyone needs to be very effective and successful.
Follow these steps to manage your time and make success your reality:
1. Get rid of the extra stuff in your life. Unless you live like a monk, you have more stuff than you need or use. If it’s not important to your life, consider getting rid of it. You spend a lot of time and money on those things that provide minimal value. Eliminate the clutter in your life and you eliminate a lot of the clutter in your mind.
2. Eliminate the trivial. Start by making a list of everything that you feel you need to get done. Cut the list in half. Don’t worry; you can come back to those items later. Now go through the same process and cut the list in half again.
3. Review your goals. What have goals got to do with eliminating all but the essential? Reviewing your goals allows you to see what tasks are most essential. Assuming that your goals are very important to you, they provide an excellent tool to evaluate which tasks are the most important to you.
4. Be aware of what’s essential. The essential things are those that support your goals. Pay your bills on time, work toward your goals, and take care of yourself and your family. Life is short; spend it on the most important stuff.
5. Evaluate your other commitments. Is the weekly poker game worth it? Golf every Wednesday? Clubs, charities, committees, and more all take time. Eliminate the extra activities that mean the least to you. This includes all the people in your life, too. Some people you’re stuck with, others are optional.
6. Minimize your sources of information. We all spend too much time receiving information and too little time doing worthwhile tasks. Cut back on TV, newspapers, browsing the Internet, email, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s largely wasted time that could be better spent.
7. Review your list regularly. Periodically, take a look at your list of things to do and go back through the elimination process. Don’t worry about the stuff that gets axed. If it’s important, it will come back around after the really important stuff gets done.
* We have a tendency to do the things that are the easiest; what’s important is to do the critical few items each day.
* Simply ask yourself what the advantage is to getting an item done and what is the disadvantage to not getting it done. Don’t choose tasks based on what is the quickest or most enjoyable; that’s what average people do. Be exceptional and do the most important items.
* If you spend all day on important tasks, your life will be remarkable.
The Bottom Line
Life doesn’t have to be an endless list of obligations. The key is to recognize that only the most important tasks really matter. When you can see that, you feel free to start chopping obligations.
Most of us major in minor things. Focus on the most important stuff and feel comfortable letting the rest slide. You’ll have more free time and your life will change for the better.