Time clutter is a time thief extraordinaire. But how do you clear that clutter.
Well, focusing your priorities helps you see where you’re going. And bringing focus to your time has the added benefit of helping you see where clutter is accumulating.
By time clutter I mean distractions, unnecessary tasks — things that get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish.
So, here are 3 tips to help you recognize the clutter and start clearing it out of the way:
TIP #1: Compare Consequences in 3 days, 3 weeks and 3 years.
If you have difficulty prioritizing between 2 competing activities, try looking down the road. What will be the consequence of choosing one option over the other in 3 days? In 3 weeks? In 3 years?
Comparing consequences over multiple time spans provides you with a more balanced understanding of the life you are creating for yourself. What seems pressing right now may recede in importance, once other long-range needs are considered. This helps clarify your best choice for now.
TIP #2: Balance narrow focus with a wide overview.
How to balance multiple responsibilities? Practice flexible focus. Think of a shepherd, retrieving the wandering lamb without losing sight of the flock. You, too, can alternate close-range focus with broad peripheral vision (aided by your calendar and favorite reminder apps).
Before you begin working on your top priority of the moment, conduct a careful, long-range overview of your commitment. That will either reinforce your current decision or encourage you to make changes that will enhance your flow. This way, no important decision falls through the cracks. Yet you bring yourself back to fully occupy the moment.
TIP #3: Chart the flow of multiple projects on your calendar.
What tasks recur periodically? How much time does each require? The evolving pattern of emerging and receding demands is the dance of your priorities.
- Note on your calendar when each project must claim precedence, and for how long.
- Make liberal use of soft deadlines (those are the deadlines you set for yourself BEFORE your hard deadlines.
Color-coding helps you conduct quick scans and avoid logjams.
The more you befriend your calendar, the more it helps you. And remember to schedule in time to recharge your batteries, so that your calendar supports your overall well-being.