Avoiding the Post-it Note Blues

How Not to Become a Walking To-Do List this Christmas… 

Blue Sticky NoteThe world is modernising rapidly. As a result our children, our bosses, our parents, our teachers, and our internal, personal goals are demanding more and more from us.

In a way this is fantastic! It means that people are achieving more, in less time, because they have more opportunities to do so.

But taking a break is also something everyone needs from time to time in order to bring meaning to our work. And this is especially true at this time of year.

This post is all about how you can slow down this Christmas, but also implement a more valuable, time re-claiming plan to your New Year. Remember, being busy isn’t a bad thing – but it’s always important to save time and make time for other, but equally as important things in life. 

1. Do One Task At A Time

This tip sounds fairly obvious but how many times do we find ourselves juggling ten different things at once?

Multi-tasking is all very well and good, if you’re someone that can deal with it. But most people find that multi-tasking is the easiest way to A) become stressed B) forget things and C) to lose track of why you are doing the work that you’re doing in the first place.

When you work, your brain is focused on that specific task. It takes time for it to alter its purpose; time that could be used elsewhere.

An easy way to avoid this is to ensure that you aren’t’ setting yourself too much to do in one day but also, to avoid disruptions. Social networking, illness, our worries are all things that can impact our efficiency. So set aside special times to deal with them, and never forget to address them.

This could simply involve you getting all the things you need for the task ready, in one tidy place before you start, or putting each task on a post-it note and placing one above your desk; only after you have completed the previous.

Whatever works for you, is the method you should take to ensure that you are making the most of your time, money and effort and becoming the best person you can possibly be. 

2. Cram Just Enough Into Your Day

If you don’t have enough planned for your day, you won’t be aiming high enough to achieve. You will also be more likely to procrastinate between tasks. But, on the other hand, aiming too high will also make you feel unnecessarily stressed and unsuccessful too.

procrastinationSo remember – it’s okay to say yes and it‘s okay to say no. The tasks that you take on are entirely within your control.

If you don’t feel you can handle the task, chances are you won’t be able to or to do so at your best. Equally, if you feel you can handle the task – go for it. The more you can achieve the better.

So how can we decide whether we can handle a task or not? By prioritising. Before accepting or rejecting a new to-do, ask yourself – what needs to be done sooner rather than later? Of the “sooner” tasks, which is most important? Which will take up the most of my time? Do I have time for one more task, or will this only disturb what plans I already have?

It’s easy to be tempted into completing those smaller tasks, than the big daunting ones. But if you start your day, your week, your month with the more daunting tasks – chances are you will have more chance to say “yes” without getting stressed later on.

3. Allow For Deviation

Let’s face it, we all have those days when we don’t feel as creative, or as mathematical, or as confident as we did yesterday or as we will tomorrow. So allow for deviation in your plans!

This will, initially, be a hard concept for you to deal with. Magazines, books, websites all tell us that the best way to get something done… is to plan, plan, plan. But the truth is, you will perform to a much better standard if you ensure that your task list doesn’t confine you to a specific day or time.

If your not feeling creative, don’t push yourself into a creative task, because you won’t be at your best. But don’t sit down and do nothing either! Simple alter the task, according to your skills and I promise, you will never have achieved such efficient results.

4. Clock Watch

Being aware of time will allow you to use your time more effectively. As a potential world-changer, time is your greatest resource – so use it wisely.

On significant tasks, give significant time. On less significant tasks, give less significant time. But always allow for a five minute break every few hours or so, just to keep you refreshed and motivated.

5. Explain to Yourself

Asking for favors is something no motivated person can go without doing in their life – but trust me, favors are much easier granted when they’re explained.

This goes for yourself too. Finding reason behind every piece of work you do is important, because it will remind you of the bigger picture. So take time before every seemingly “daunting” task to picture how you will feel once you have completed it.

Break it down. How can you make this one, big task into several smaller ones? 

Explaining to yourself is also a great way to locate time wasters. If you can’t understand why you’re doing a certain task – then why are you doing it. 

6. Connect More

People are important. They help us stay positive, avoid stress and find meaning in the work we do. So always remember to take a step back and put time and effort into your most important relationships.

A good way to do this is to keep your work and home life, separate but not too separate. In this sense, you will be able to explain your problems but also get the most out of the good things in life.

Christmas is the best time to revive any relationships that you have let dwindle over the passing year. Remember, although you may feel like a machine at times – you are human, and to understand and impact the world like you want to be able to do, you also need to understand what it’s missing and how to work well with the other people in it.

Wrote by Aimee Hall