Time management is a challenge for the best of us and right now, the deadline for this piece is pressing against your very nose. There is, after all, nothing like a deadline to motivate an entrepreneur, for we have so many things that we class as priority.
Except we don’t. Priorities are not two-a-penny; a priority is something that is highest or higher in importance, rank or privilege, a definition that clearly weeds out the chaff to be sent to the bottom of The List forthwith.
The List is a saving grace; each Monday morning dedicate the first half hour of the working week to itemise Things To Do in order of importance, then diarise the deadline. At the end of each day return to The List, note what is completed, what is underway and what needs to be attended to during the rest of the week. There you have it – an up to date schedule of priorities without losing sight of what’s important and without constant concern over unintended omissions. The List method allows for flexibility – clearly, new tasks will arrive and need to be inserted where appropriate. Each morning, attention can be focused on the next most important item, with priority highlighted by a diarised deadline.
The method takes a little discipline, but this half hour will release many more half hours otherwise taken up with unravelling a ball of perceived priorities and decision making. Once The List skill is mastered, it applies to everything: domesticity and child rearing are prime candidates, although any parent will already have multitasking and prioritising down to a fine art.
Five-point plan for time management
- Itemise things to do
- Prioritise each item
- Diarise deadlines linked to the list
- Update complete and underway tasks at the end of each day
- Insert new activities and deadlines as they happen
Managing time over the last year has been far more complex; working from home we are overtly aware of the laundry piling up, of the depleted fridge, of home-schooling demands. Pressure to ensure all is well can be overwhelming because ultimately, home is where the heart is and where peace must be allowed to prevail for the sake of our own sanity and that of our family, if nothing else.
How then, to reconcile your home working situation with your desire for domestic bliss? The List will cover it of course but diarising domestic and parenting commitments make them concrete. Not that the business of work is any less important but in a quest for Life-Work balance (see what I did there?) an organised home means that work obligations and the spaces to meet them are far more likely to open up.
At the end of the day, work is a means to the end; our loved ones and our homes are far, far more pertinent to a happy life. Organise one and the other will fall into place with much greater ease. Try it!