Have you ever heard that saying: “if you place a frog in a pot of boiling water it will hop out; but if you place a frog in the pot and slowly heat the water it will boil to death”? Consider me a frog.
Time management is an issue we all deal with, especially when stressing out over things like money, work, family, the economy, etc. Sometimes something big happens that causes a massive stress overload instantly, and sometimes it sort of sneaks up on you, boiling you alive.
That’s exactly what happened to me the other day.
I should have realized something was wrong. My overall levels of anger and frustration were abnormally high and I was trigger happy. I was snipping at people at work and with those at home. It was hard to fall asleep at night. Coming in to work late looking like a zombie was becoming the norm. I had started skipping the gym (something that I absolutely love), eating fast food (something I haven’t done in 5 years), and watching TV (also something I haven’t paid for in 11 years). I put on ten pounds in the last couple months alone!
Something had to give.
That night I was failing miserably to fall asleep, tossing and turning as I fretted over all that was on my plate. Sometimes when this happens it helps if I just write it all down, telling myself that I can pick it back up tomorrow where I left off, so that’s what I decided to do. Behold, the mighty list:
- Master time management
- Get a bod’ as hot as Beyoncé
- Master eating clean
- Network with Seattle’s finest
- Kick major butt at work
- Complete my bedroom remodel
- Make lots of moolah
- Become enlightened
- Become a self-help guru
- Channel Michael and “heal the world”
- Blog more
- Master personal branding
- Go to Ikea
- Save money for fabulous vacations and amazing holiday presents
- Host amazing parties that change lives
- Zen out
Boiled frog anyone?
Starting a business is a big commitment, to which I am dedicated completely. Three months ago I told myself I was going in to a six-month building sprint and I’m currently at the half-way point. It would be very easy to put it all down, but then I think about slipping backwards or losing momentum and I don’t want to. So, while it might seem contradictory to rest in a sprint, it is about finding a rhythm that is fast paced and will allow me to endure.
After all, how can I build a business of nurturing the spirit through everyday choices without actually doing it myself?
I needed to break this monstrous list down. I began auditing each item using a few tools I learned from Steven Covey, Christine Hassler, and Danielle LaPorte. Each of these questions aim to provide perspective and context to each of the items on my list and help me determine how to prioritize. They are:
- How important is this item? Important or Not Important
- How urgent is this item? Urgent or Not Urgent
- Is this task something I want to do or something I think others want me to do – what I should/ought to do? (Note: If you choose to do something for others then it becomes what you want; or if you’ve been hired for a task that becomes something you chose and thus is for you.) For Me or For Others
- How do I feel about each item? Good or Bad
- How will I feel as I’m working on each item? Charged/Refreshed or Bored/Drained
- How will I feel after completing each item? Accomplished or Burdened
- Is this really a To-Do or is this an overall goal? To-Do or Goal
- Can I break anything down in to smaller action items? One Item or Many Items
- Are there ways to allocate, delegate, or streamline tasks? Non-delegable or Delegable
By asking myself these questions I was able to prioritize and, more importantly, scale down some of these projects into bite-size pieces.
- Master Time Management: important, urgent, for me, feel good, refreshed, accomplished, goal, many items, non-delegable.
- Get a bod’ as hot as Beyoncé. This can really be broken down in to three pieces:
- Go to the gym [three days this week]: important, urgent, for me, feel good, charged/refreshed, accomplished, to-do, one item, non-delegable
- Eat clean [Saturday]: important, urgent, for me, feel good, charged/refreshed, burdened, to-do, many items, non-delegable
- Exude D.I.V.A. daily: important, not urgent, for me, feel good, charged/refreshed, accomplished, goal, many items, non-delegable.
- Channel Michael and “heal the world:” important, not urgent, for others, feel good, drained, burdened, goal, many items, delegable.
When I examined each item after asking myself these questions, suddenly I had a prioritized list of action items and a healthy dose of reality. A lot of pressure was taken off of me by just getting it down on paper, but I realized that a lot of these goals were very lofty and way too big to handle all at once.
I mean, if looking like Queen Bey was so easy, everyone would do it! Moreover, she’s been practicing beying Beyoncé her whole life and she’s killin’ it!
I’ve been practicing being Heather my whole life and I’m killin’ it too. I needed to cut myself some slack and give myself permission to be patient, to think long-term, to think about what I could actually contribute successfully, and to allow myself some much-needed rest.
And wouldn’t you know as soon as I came to that realization I turned off my light and drifted in to a froggy sleep.
Do you have any to-do list disasters? Tell us below! Remember that by changing ourselves we change the world, one day at a time. Life is Everyday Choices.