Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with that “How am I going to get it all done” panic? It happens to most of us at some point or another, and for some it happens more often than not. Without quality sleep, our days become less efficient, and our entire lives are impacted.
So, how do you settle into bed with a clear mind and a sense of calm about the day ahead?
As part of your bedtime routine, sit quietly with your notebook and:
1. Make a list of the three most important things you want to accomplish the next day
2. Break each task into smaller, actionable items where possible
3. Schedule each task or actionable item into your calendar by 15 or 30 minute intervals
Here is an example: Tomorrow you need to call your insurance broker, buy a birthday gift for a loved one, and plan a dinner party. Start by scheduling the time in your calendar for when you will call your insurance broker and buy the birthday gift. Block off the length of time you think it will take you to do the tasks, and block extra time because things always seem to come up unexpectedly.
Now that you have scheduled calling your insurance broker and buying a birthday gift, it leaves planning a dinner party, which can be overwhelming. The trick is to write down all the tasks that are required to plan the dinner party and how long you think it will take each task. Then schedule them in your calendar . Here is an example:
1. Decide on guest list (15mins)
2. Plan the menu (30mins)
3. Write grocery list (15mins)
4. List places to shop (15mins)
5. Send out invitations (15mins)
You may think, “do I really have to go through all that trouble of putting it in my calendar?”, but by seeing the assigned blocks of time in your calendar, it will help you realize exactly how long it may take you to do each task. This should reduce your feeling of overwhelm in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, because you have everything scheduled in.
If you don’t have enough time in your day to do all the tasks, then take something away, and try pushing it out to another day.
If you have extra time in the day once your top three tasks are scheduled, feel free to add in some other manageable tasks, making your day even more productive, or spend time doing something that you love to do.
What is one thing you would like to accomplish tomorrow?
Until next time,
Kathy McEwan is an organizing and productivity expert and owner of Second Set of Hands.