One of the essential keys to time management is to identify the one thing on your todo list that you most DO NOT WANT TO DO, and then do that thing first.
When you have a task awaiting you that you dislike, or fear, or feel is beneath you for whatever reason, it tends to prey on your mind. You think about it; you think about how much you hate/fear/resent the task. You do it over and over again, in your mind, without making any progress. It eats up your energy and your enthusiasm and your ambition.
If you simply go ahead and do it FIRST, then it's done. You've only had to do it one time, and it's over with. The rest of the day seems brighter and lighter and easier. You're ahead of the game.
Yesterday, my husband tried to coax me into cleaning out our fishpond with him. This is an annual task, so it doesn't come around that often, and usually when it does start edging into our consciousness, it's me who coaxes him into undertaking the task.
I also should tell you that the fish pond was my idea in the first place. When we first moved into our place, we had a wonderful blank canvas for our front yard: dirt and cement. Or, I should say, soil and concrete. I talked my husband into helping me dig a big hole in the hard clay, line it with a gigantic sheet of black plastic, and haul flagstones and water lilies from the garden supply store to our driveway and place them strategically in the perfect spot. A little to the left. Hhhmm. . . a little to the right. . .
Ten years later, the pond is still the bright spot of our front yard. But every year it needs to be emptied, hosed clean, and refilled. Every year I coax him to help me, and every year it does.
This year, I did not want to touch the thing. My attention was focused elsewhere. I had calls to make; I had emails to write; I had new material to print out and organize; I was a busy lady. When he mentioned the pond, I came up with a dozen reasons why we should postpone it. It was foggy and cold; there were too many other things I wanted to get done; my sister and niece were coming by for a visit; we also had to wash the van, and no one should have to do two icky jobs in one day. Quite an impressive list, no?
But then I just decided to cooperate and get the thing done. We actually had gotten an early start to the day, and there would be plenty of time for the calls, emails, printing, organizing in the afternoon. So we started.
As soon as we focused on the pond, my whole attitude changed. I love working side by side with my husband. We don't get to spend much time together with our busy careers, and every minute with him is a treat. I love to garden, and rarely have the opportunity to spend the time to transform our front yard from neglected chaos to orderly beauty. The weather was perfect for this job. We were able to rearrange the teetering flagstones along the edge next to the fence. The fish were SO happy to have clean water flowing through their gills. They raced around, gleefully. The pond looked beautiful. And my sister and niece walked through the gate as the pond was filling and oooed and aahhed on cue.
And the rest of my day was brighter and cleaner and completely care free.
So when you make your list of things to do today, identify the one thing that you most do not want to do, and then do it. You'll feel better. Then find the next thing on your list that you most do not want to do, and do it. The day will start to get better and better. Your life will start to get better and better.
Make those calls. Send those emails. Set up those lunch meetings and dinner presentations. Take charge of your life. The energy will carry you along. Create your amazing business. You CAN do it.
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