An 8 Step Process for Managing Time and Priorities

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Man relaxing in a hammock strung between palm trees overlooking the ocean at a tropical island resort

If you are wondering how you will ever get everything done, here are 8 steps to break the cycle that leads to overwhelm, procrastination, underachievement and unrealized dreams. These simple steps will help you clear the decks and get to work on what matters.

  1. Schedule two weekly meetings with yourself, turn off all your devices, and stick to this routine. These sessions will provide you with the necessary blocked out time to step away from the day to day and do some big picture thinking. As a leader, you need the space to clear your head and get some perspective on where to focus your energies, instead of doing everything on the fly.
  2. Anticipate and download all the nagging to-do’s in one place. You’ll find that thinking ahead of time and “Naming the Swirl” reduces anxiety and reactivity.
  3. Accurately estimate how long tasks and projects will take. Magical thinking “oh, it will only take twenty minutes/two hours/one week” is always followed by frustration and disappointment.
  4. Prioritize your to-do’s, using the Urgent/Important matrix, a two by two grid that captures what is high or low in urgency or importance. If you are thoughtful about the definitions for each, you may be surprised by how valuable the guidance gained can be. Some simple activities may reveal themselves to be extremely important if you view them with a different lens, while screamingly urgent tasks could lose their power under scrutiny.
  5. Use this stepping away time to break things down into discrete components and a sequence of steps. This makes the most daunting projects feel more manageable.
  6. This includes delegating, soliciting support from others, and holding them accountable for their tasks, while having some structure to hold you accountable for yours. For people who struggle with procrastination or perfectionism, and who cannot get into action mode, define a MAP – minimal acceptable performance – and get started with that.
  7. Evaluate and adjust continually. This is essential for a learning organization and for personal growth and development.
  8. Practice “Microbursts of Mindfulness”. Increasing your alertness, self-awareness, and mental presence to what is happening in the moment will help you stay centered and build your capacity to Lead with Ease©.




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