Decide when you are going to do things, not when you are going to do them by.
There is a big difference psychologically between knowing a deadline for something and knowing the amount of time you have available between the present and the deadline.
Assess the amount of time you think it will take to complete a task (work or personal - it is all the same). Then look at your schedule to lock in that amount of time for that task - this week, next week, whenever. Schedule the effort based on how important it is or how excited you are to do it. Then add 30mins overtime to the scheduled time to cater for the inevitable distractions and interruptions.
Once it is in the schedule it can’t come back out on to some stupid to do list (don’t get me started on this!). It can only be moved to another day when I have that same amount of time free.
What is exciting about this is that soon you will buy yourself time. When you complete your job in less time than you allocated you are winning.
What is the prize?
Time to do something you WANT to do! Don’t immediately start the next job you NEED to do. Do something you have been wanting to do for a little while and never seem to find the time. You just found some time!
- Listen to a podcast. (I recommend @managertools while we are on this subject)
- Make three phone calls to people you have not spoken to in a month or more.
- Write a blog post and share something that will help someone else.
So, let’s not allow other people’s deadlines or our own made up ones to take control of our schedule. Decide when you are doing to do the things you need and want to do. Schedule them with some overtime.
And, when you buy yourself some time, do something fun and productive.