Is your day run by urgent tasks?
One of the typical reasons people tell me they do NOT use a planner is because they "do not have time to." They will go on to explain to me how they have all these highly urgent tasks that need to be done and how they barely have any free time or get any sleep. And I believe them! I am sure they are way overbooked as it is! However, this is also exactly why they need the help of a planner!
In my experience, having lots of urgent tasks, is a result of poor planning. Most tasks are NOT urgent... they only become urgent after we procrastinate them until the last minute! Obviously, yes, you will still get some urgent tasks that come up throughout the day... however, if your day is continually full or urgent deadlines, it is most likely a result of poor planning.
If you would like to break this cycle of continuous stress and constantly jumping from one urgent task to the next, try these 4 strategies.
4 steps to reducing the number of urgent tasks in your day
1. Stop using just one to-do list
To-do lists are extremely helpful, but one of the big problems comes from just having one. This list turns into a never-ending, stressful, list of over 20 items. Rather than doing this, divide your to-do list into 7 sections- one section for each day of the week. When you add a task to your list, put it under the day you plan to get it done. This way, instead of having your stressful, 20 item list, you will have a list of 3-4 tasks to do each day, with a written plan to get the rest done throughout the week.
2. Don't focus on how you will finish a project, focus on how you still start
For large projects or tasks, it is often easy to want to complete the entire thing all at once. People often tell me how they are waiting to start a project until they have an afternoon or entire day to dedicate to it. However, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN! It is SO unlikely that you will get this "free day" or abondance of extra time to accomplish projects like this.
Instead, don't have your attention so focused on how you will finish the project, but rather focus on how you will start. Ask yourself, what can I do right now for 20 minutes that will move me closer? Or what is the first step?
By dedicating time, even just 15- 20 minutes daily, you can make HUGE progress! Those little small amounts of time will add up!
This can be helpful for other goals too, not just projects with deadlines. Too often someone will tell me about a goal they are wanting to work towards, and then several months later, I will see them and ask them how it is going. It always makes me sad when they tell me they are still waiting for a day to dedicate towards it. I am sure if they would have started waking up 15 minutes earlier each day to work towards it, they could have accomplished it by now!
3. Monitor the number of urgent tasks you have daily
Keep track of how many urgent tasks you have each day. If you start noticing that you regularly have your day full of them, it may be time to reevaluate the planning strategy you are using. Again, having lots of urgent tasks, is a result of poor planning. Maybe the strategy you are using is good, you just need to get more committed to it.
4. Take 10 minutes to plan your day
Now, before you tell me how you don't have the time to plan out your day, let me ask you this... what TV shows do you watch? Too often after someone tells me how they have no free time, they then tell me about these 6 different shows they have been watching (or how they have watched The Office 6 times) Obviously, it is good to take some time to relax, but stop letting this get in the way of you organizing your day!
Or, how many times did you push the snooze button this morning? (if you need help with that, checkout our post on how to defeat snooze) Stop snoozing through having a more organized life!
In my experience, and from meeting with dozens of highly successful individuals, dedicating 30 minutes to plan your week, or 10 minutes to plan your day, will typically be the highest payoff activity you will do. Taking those 10 minutes in the beginning of the day to make a plan can make you MUCH more productive throughout the day!
Now try it out!
Let’s get started! Take a few minutes right now to divide your to-do list out over the next 7 days. Then looking over you tasks for tomorrow, take time to write out a bullet plan for how you will get them all done.
If you need help with this, check out the GoalCrazy 90 day planner. It will help you organize and prioritize your days so can get more accomplished. Check it out below.