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  • Writer's pictureMJ

Tame your unrealistic workload

Let's talk time for a minute. Lately, I never seem to have enough of it. This last month I kept telling myself, “I just need four more hours in each day.” I know better than this but it didn't stop my brain from replaying the message over and over like a bad earworm. I am usually fairly good with managing my time so I just needed to take a few minutes to reset and think.

There are (at least) six common obstacles with Time Management, including:

  • An unrealistic workload

  • Miscalculating how long activities take

  • The inability to remember what to do

  • Having unclear goals and priorities

  • Tasks have no given home

  • You are easily distracted

Don't click to another page just yet, I'm only going to discuss one obstacle: the unrealistic workload.

The first step is to realize and accept that you are overbooked. For whatever reasons, you have too many important things filling up your calendar. But time is finite, you cannot do everything and be everywhere. Start by thinking about how “little” you can do instead of how “much” you can do to find the most efficient way to get things done.

Next, use the Four D's: delete, delay, diminish and delegate. I'll use one of my own projects as an example: I have old photos recently given to me by my grandmother that I need to review and determine what I want to keep, what might be duplicates, what I might want to give to others, and what should be tossed.

  • Delete: What does not add enough value to warrant the time you invest? Ask yourself, “What's the worst that could happen if X went undone?” If I do not spend the time reviewing the photos I could leave a box of items for my children to someday deal with. I do not want that so Delete is not an option for my project.

  • Delay: Look for items that can easily be rescheduled for another time. Ask yourself, “Is this the best time of the day/week/month/year to do X?” Delay is not the same as procrastination, which is an indefinite postponement. Winter would be the best time of the year for me to work on this type of project. Adding it to my January or February calendar is a good plan.

  • Diminish: Eliminate anything unnecessary by finding a more efficient way to do the task. Ask yourself, “Is there a better way to do X?” I could do this task more efficiently if others in my household knew those pictured in the photos, but they do not so an individual review is the way to go.

  • Delegate: Ensure the best use of your time by asking yourself, “Would someone else do X better, faster . . . or good enough?” Is there someone else in my family that would be better suited for this task? Unfortunately I do not have extended family nearby that could assist with my project.

Take a few minutes to write down what you are spending too much time on, what you keep putting off, and anything you regret volunteering for/committing to. Use the Four D's to open up some time in your day, your week, and your life.

If you would like to know more about the skills needed to tackle common Time Management obstacles, give me a call at (608) 345-1836 or email A free phone consultation is the first step in taking back control of your time.


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