Ever have one of those days when you have too much to do and not enough time but it all has to be done? If your answer is “that’s every day”, you might want to make some changes to your schedule! But what I’m talking about here are those days that come up once in a while – those days where there’s so much that has to be done that you just don’t even know where to start! When I have one of those days, my default is to shut down and go play Scrabble on my I-Phone and wait for it all to be over. But that doesn’t really work.
So here’s a strategy I’ve developed to help myself get through those days successfully. It’s
simple. Make a schedule. But this part is really, really important: MAKE THE SCHEDULE THE NIGHT BEFORE. If you wait until morning, it’s too late. Here’s how to do it:
- Make a list of everything that MUST be done.
- Add to that the things that really SHOULD be done.
- Then divide a piece of paper into time slots for the day – or you can use a schedule sheet like this one:
- Plug into the schedule the things that have a set time – appointments, meals, etc.
- Look at the remaining MUST be done items on your list and start plugging them into the schedule. Try to be as realistic as possible. For example, I’m not a morning person so it’s not likely I’m going to choose this day to get up at the crack of dawn to get a head start on the day. Nope – this will not be the day that happens. So if I normally start the day at 9:00, it’s probably a good idea to do the same on this day. The only exception would be if you find there’s no way you can get everything done unless you get up a little earlier. But still, be realistic. If you normally get up at 8:00, maybe try for 7:00 – not 5:00.
At this point, one of two things will probably happen. You’ll either discover that with careful planning and a little discipline, you can indeed get it all done. It might not be fun, but it can be done. And you might even have room for a few SHOULDS.
Or you’ll discover there’s no way it’s going to all get done. And if that’s the case, you have to start making some hard decisions. Here are some options:
- Skip. Look over the list and confirm that everything really MUST be done. Usually on my list I find there are few things that could be skipped. If that’s the case, you’re going to have to skip them. You can only do so much. Skip what you can.
- Delegate. Another option is to see if anyone else can help you. When I’m planning a party or dinner or something that requires a lot of time and effort, I like to enlist the help of my family. I either let them chose things they’re willing to do or ask for help with specific items. If you’re having a dinner or party, you can also ask your guests to bring a dessert or salad or pick up ice, for example.
- Take Shortcuts. Perhaps some of the things on your list can be handled more efficiently. Instead of making homemade rolls, buy them. Instead of elaborate decorating, keep it simple. Instead of three desserts, make two. Taking a few shortcuts can make a huge difference.
- Reschedule. If you have an appointment that can be moved, move it.
Filling out the schedule sheet is kind of like putting together a puzzle. You have to work at
it and sometimes you can’t figure it out right away. But if you persevere and take some of the actions described above, you can get all the pieces to fit.
So the next time you have one of those days, try the scheduling strategy and see what a difference it makes. Just don’t live like that every day, though.