"You'll Never Get It All Done!"
Dear Success Seeker,
Recently I was coaching a client who has, by all measures, a very successful business. But she was very upset with herself. "I'm so far behind," she said. "I'll never get caught up!"
If you have your own business, you can almost certainly relate to her situation.
Due to advances in technology and communication, the pace of our lives is accelerating exponentially whether we like it or not. At the same time, media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Netflix and so on are developing increasingly sophisticated ways of distracting our precious attention and pulling us away from our priorities.
If you are going to succeed, at some point you need to confront a new reality. No matter how hard you try, you will never get it all done! You must come to peace with this or your stress level will continue to rise and your quality of life will plummet.
Take a look at your 'to-do list' and you'll see for yourself. There's no way you could do even half the stuff on your list. And even if you did, more things would show up.
If you want to enjoy your life, you must stop your desperate attempts to increase your productivity and catch up. The way to freedom is to start viewing your to-do list as a menu of possibilities instead of a hard and fast list of tasks to complete.
Here are some strategies that will help you function in this new paradigm:
Prioritize your actions!
Since you have an unlimited list of things to get done and a limited amount of time and energy, you need to be selective about where you spend your time. Before you can prioritize, you need to be clear about your goals. As the rabbit said in Alice in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."
Once you know your objective, discipline yourself to focus on the activities and projects that will take you there. This will decrease your stress level because you will know that you are spending your time doing the right things.
Practice saying 'no'!
Have you ever considered the fact that each time you say 'yes' to something, you are saying 'no' to hundreds of other possibilities?
I'm not just referring to when someone asks you to do something; this principle applies to everything you do. When you choose to watch a YouTube video during your workday, you are saying 'no' to making sales calls or doing other activities that have the potential to advance your business.
As a business owner you are the only one who can protect your time. Say 'no' to distractions and low payoff activities and 'yes' to the success of your business.
Restructure your to-do list
If you are like most people, you have a single, long to-do list that includes everything. This has a tendency to be confusing and overwhelming. Since you won't get everything done, break your list into the following four different sections:
1) Doing now: Activities you are working on right now;
2) Doing next: Things that are 'on deck' and will be done next;
3) Doing soon: Items that have high priority and will be done within the next week;
4) The Dumpster: A mass storage list for things you may act on in the future.
The beauty of this approach is that items on your Dumpster List do not create pressure on you to take action. It provides relief because you have no obligation to ever do most of these things.
Take a few minutes each day to update and re-prioritize your lists. Scan your Dumpster List and, when appropriate, move items onto one of your other lists. The remaining low priority items stay dormant until your next dumpster dive at which time you get another chance to elevate them, delete them or leave them in limbo.
In summary, here are the new rules of engagement.
1) Accept the fact that you will never get it all done;
2) Prioritize your time;
3) Say 'no' more often;
4) Create a Dumpster List which eliminates the weight of uncompleted tasks.
Apply these principles and life will improve. You will advance faster towards your goals and experience less stress in the process.
To your success!
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
Would you like to receive private Business Coaching from Andrew?
Email Pam@ProCoachSystem.com or call 604-983-8041 for details
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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