It seems that the best way to make yourself look like a VIP is to say “I am just so busy!” when you’re asked how you’ve been. Even if I have been hanging around all day in my jammies watching Jerry Springer re-runs and eating an endless supply of Mr. Freeze pineapple flavor I am sure to exclaim “Oh, I’m just soo busy” if someone were to ask how things are.
The thing is, a lot of the time we are actually busy. We have a bazillion things to do and we procrastinate and stress about it and spend way too much time thinking about it instead of taking action. Annoying mental and time suck huh?
If you want to be a pro with time management and enjoy taking care of bidness then read on for some super useful tips to make your busy life easier!
Take a step back and review what you gotta do
The problem: Those peppers in the fridge need cooking, Auntie Marge is waiting for a call, you need to get a project done for work and the house is a total mess, not to mention all the other little things that need to be taken care of. Screw it, I’m having a nap!
The solution: Write it all down. Think of absolutely everything you need to do and then rate it on how important it is. I like to rank them starting at number ne and moving down so that I take care of the most important things first and check them of as I go. You could also use this priority matrix, below, to categorize tasks. This process shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.
It’s great to please everyone in your life life but it’s simply impossible to do. You’re not Rocky Balboa, unless you are, then that’s super cool.
If someone asks you to do something and you’re not feeling even a little bit jazzed about it and you don’t have to do it then why don’t you put yourself and your time first? Crazy I know! If you don’t feel comfortable just saying “Nah, I can’t be bovved”, then try this wording:
Thanks so much for thinking of me for this task/project! My plate is quite full at the moment, but I may have some availability next quarter. Feel free to reach out to me then. Have a wonderful day!
If you use this wording, it then puts the emphasis on them to follow up with you (which they are not very likely to do), and if they do then you can reconsider. If you still don’t want to do the task you can tell them “thanks, but no thanks” or use the same approach if you don’t feel good about just saying no.
Use your Waiting Time
You’re waiting in line at Costco, waiting for the advert on the TV to end, waiting for your friend who is late for dinner. All this time that’s used for checking Facebook, or staring into space.
Why not use this time to do something you need to take care of? Call the hotel to book those rooms, reply to that email you’ve put off, write your list of to do’s.
This time may be teeny tiny, but every moment counts. See, this very scientific formula explains it all:
Teeny tiny time x a few teeny tiny times a week = a bit of time that would have been wasted but now is productive.
See, its science guys, and we all know science is FACT!
Get mentally busy during Physically Busy Time
Different from Waiting Time, Physically Busy Time is when you’re not using your brain to do something but you’re using your hands.
Driving to work? Put on an audiobook of the topic you want to learn about. Washing the dishes? Practice that song you’re planning on auditioning with at the next season of Canadian Idol. Rocking some spandex on the elliptical? Why not create a (breathy) audio recording outlining key points you want to cover in that presentation. Kablamo!
Why do you have to do it all? Answer: You don’t you crazy animal!
Get your friends, family, kids, and the creepy looking next-door neighbor to help you out. Get them fools to work! You can even offer to pay them, with hugs of course, which is a valid currency in Finland where everything is wonderful.
Need to get something done that you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at? Hire someone. I know, we are not all sweating diamonds and pooping gold bars but hiring someone can be cheap and have a fantastic ROI. Check out sites like Elance or UpWork. You can hire someone for as little as $3 an hour abroad or someone locally for around $15 an hour. Is your time worth more than $3 an hour? Look into that shizzo!
Develop a process for repetitive tasks
Can you automate it? Spend time stressing about paying your credit card bill and keep meaning to pay it and then forget. Set up an automatic payment.
Want to send emails to a bunch of connections every month but keep forgetting? Get a free account at MailChimp. Technology is mindboggling and there must be a way to automate that annoying thing you keep needing to do. Riiight!
Cluster related tasks
Need to reply to 30 emails? Set an hour time slot to get that shit done. Do not permit yourself to be distracted by something else. Need to write some copy for the company newsletter? Turn off your email notification and keep your head down for 20 minutes. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you focus on one task at a time.
I can’t wait until 2025 so I can look back to now and laugh about how quaint we were with our giant laptops and terribly stupid phones. I hope by then those science wizards have built a machine to automatically wash, dry and style my hair. C’mon science wizards I believe in you! We have a ton of wicked and free tools at our fingertips to help us manage time. Use Siri on the iPhone to schedule tasks ,send text messages, book meetings. Check out this article with tons of different apps you can download and use to make Marty McFly proud!
Done is better than perfect
This is the one thing my mentor, Jen Sincero, told me that kicks my ass in to gear the most often. It’s hard to make a start and there is so much to do and you want everything to be awesome and you’re not in a place to make it awesome so, let’s not bother right now. TAKE ACTION. Just do that thing already, make a start, draw an outline, do just a little bit. By not taking action we are giving ourselves the permission to say it’s too hard, when in reality, you can do it, badass.
And now, a time related “joke”* from my dad.
Dad saves half his dinner, puts it in the fridge and says “That’s for Ron”.
“Who’s Ron”? I ask.
*Told you it was a “joke”.