I’m always striving for a simpler life – and doing things efficiently rather than spinning my wheels on projects that never seem to end is a big part of that. One of my goals this year is to have “less to-do in ’22.” If you’re interested in something similar, keep reading.
How do you accomplish doing less without feeling guilty?
First, make a list of your to-dos and projects – on paper, a white board, in an app, back of a napkin, it doesn’t matter. A client once put together her list which totaled more than 50 projects and to-do items. Everything from make a gutter-cleaning appointment to quilt a baby blanket for a grandchild (the child is now a teen!). It’s not possible to accomplish everything on such a huge list. Your time is valuable.
Next, give each item a number between 1 and 10 based on importance (1 most important, 10 not important). Keep in mind that not everything can be a 1. Be honest about how much you want the task completed, and how likely it is to happen.
Now cross off anything listed 6 – 10. Let those projects go, mentally and physically. Donate the craft items you’ll never use, the business cards you’ve collected, etc. Doing so won’t feel great at first, but it will eventually.
For what remains on your list, break down each project or task into subtasks. What are all the steps that need to happen to complete this project? Then assign an amount of time for each component. Do this by taking an educated guess and then doubling it. Add up the amount of time that it will take to finish the task. Be honest!
Now that you have an accurate list of to-dos and a realistic view of how long each will take, separate into quick tasks (less than 30 minutes) and those that require more effort. With the complete picture in hand, determine if you are you willing and able to invest the necessary time and energy.
Take a moment to consider the 4 Ds (delete, delegate, delay, and diminish).
If there are any tasks that seem too overwhelming and fill you with dread, consider deleting them from your project list entirely.
Next think about what you may be able to delegate to someone else. For example, hire someone to install new bathroom tile vs. doing it yourself.
Determine if some could be delayed. For example, waiting to rake leaves until next weekend when your grandchildren can help.
And finally, can a to-do item be diminished in some way. For example, rather than planning a trip to visit your elderly aunt in California, plan monthly virtual calls (perhaps with the help of someone tech-savvy near her).
If you would you like some assistance with a spring project, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (608) 345-1836.