Have you felt the end of the day blues?
Does the end of your day feel like you’ve met your most time sensitive deadlines but you haven’t accomplished what’s really important? Hearing me say ”I was so busy today, but I feel like I didn’t get anything done!” was very common and drove me crazy!!
You’re definitely not alone. It’s true that people typically choose to complete tasks that have very short deadlines attached to them? This is even true where tasks without deadlines were just as easy and would certainly yield a greater reward!
It’s human nature to want to accomplish deadline-driven tasks and get them checked off your mental to-do list. Unfortunately important tasks are typically less likely to have “deadlines” attached to them vs tasks that are relatively unimportant. You may be wondering what some important priorities might look like, well I would say:
- Integrity based tasks (ie: visiting hospice patients, donating time at a food bank or spend more meaningful time with your children)
- Tasks to get you ‘recognized’ somewhere important (invited to speak at a large event, podcast or finally writing that book)
- Self improvement tasks (taking a online college course, joining an accountability group or learning a new language)
- Tasks to prevent future problems (scheduling your annual doctor check up or creating a crisis management procedure for your business)
These priorities tend to be forgotten while you work on low-importance, time-specific tasks, like booking a flight, checking and cleaning out your email, or writing a blog.
I learned that if I schedule when and where I’ll do something makes it dramatically more likely I’ll get it done.
For very important and tasks that have been avoided for a long period of time, you may need a strategy like I did. You can assign a particular task as the only one you will work on for an entire day. Any task you have been and continue to put off is perfect for this category.
Remember that important unfamiliar tasks might have a learning curve that makes how much time they’ll take to complete unpredictable. Spending time on these will feel a bit more clumsy than productive, which is why we don’t want do them. Giving yourself a full day with one task, even when that seems excessive, can be useful.
Have you heard “too busy chasing cows to build a fence.” ? Don’t be. Find situations where you can invest time once, then set up a system that will save time in the future.
I have struggled with prioritizing the important over the urgent. Thankfully I learned to focus on the big picture and stop self-sabotaging – and I encourage you to do the same!