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by Michelle Perry
owner of Motiv8


Did you plan to feel stressed today?  Did you plan to stretch yourself so thin you are exhausted and looking forward to bed by 9 pm?  There is a fix.  We used to call it “time management” and the time seemed small and management seemed like the bigger part of the equation.  Then we realized we can’t manage time – oh, yeah 24 hours in every day–duh.  Then we called it “Prioritizing” but realized everyone else was delegating their priorities to you – keeping your plate more full than ever.  Now we take a deep breath and focus on what we can control.  Manage our own activities – easy right?  How?

Here are some helpful tips.

  • Yes and Know.  Consciously decide when to say yes – to the important things.  Not because of guilt trips or pressures…because you want to say yes.  And know when to say no.  I find saying “No, I’m sure you understand” or “No, I can’t volunteer at trivia night since it is the same night as my son’s birthday.  I’m sure you understand.”  Everyone does understand.
  • Plan today tomorrow.  Take 15 minutes at the same time every day to review tomorrow’s schedule – at work time, my planning time is 3:00 pm and in real-life, my planning time is 9:00 pm.  Look at tomorrow’s day – what appointments and tasks are to be done.  Identify the key 3 things you must do to prevent stress or panicking in the future if postponed.  Then I look at the timing of the day – did I double book myself?  Is there enough drive time between activities?  Is there anything I can prepare/print/gather today to avoid scrambling tomorrow?  I am an avid list maker so I make a pocket-sized list and check it off as I get things done during the day. My must do’s are always at the top and the “wish list” follows.  If I have more than 5 things, the lower priorities go the next day’s list.  If I don’t get the tasks done, they carry forward to tomorrow’s list.  I often pull a coat or jacket out of the closet and find a list and laugh at the progress I made weeks ago.
  • Have a long-term plan.  We have a 5-year strategy plan for work, why not life?  Include all the areas in your “Wheel of Life” – Business/Career, Finances, Health, Family & Friends, Romance, Personal Growth, Fun & Recreation, and Physical Environment.  Focus on the areas you can control.  You may not know how your income will grow in the next 5 years, but you can decide to live on a budget within your means and that includes having an emergency fund and savings.  You may not be able to control your romance, but you can schedule time for dates – especially if you are married.  Picture yourself in five years.  Close your eyes and envision yourself in 2022.  What steps do you need to take to make that picture a reality?  Dream big.  Then Dream Bigger!

So what’s the point?  Be proactive.  Make a 15 min appointment with yourself every day.  Treat you like your best client.  Don’t miss your appointment – just modify the timing if needed, but don’t cut it short because of someone else’s “fire”.   Use your planning time to focus forward.  You will feel good starting tomorrow with an action plan.  You will feel good as you check off your accomplishments.  Suddenly you will feel good – much better than stretched thin since that is not on tomorrow’s plan!

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