The other day I was making a cup of tea in my kitchen and going over my to-do list for the month. The tea was meant to help me relax because the list was definitely stressing me out.
There were mission-critical tasks that had been put on the backburner for too long. These were things I owed other people and I felt the pressure of knowing they were waiting on me before they could move forward on their own tasks.
Then there were tasks that were important to my family – medical appointments to schedule, questions to get answered, and shopping to do. I had to find time to squeeze those in during normal business hours while working around various meetings and live events.
And last but not least, waaaaay down at the bottom were those “for me” tasks. You know what I’m talking about. My medical appointments. My tasks for my goals. My shopping and honey-do wishlist. These are the things I push down to the bottom of my list.
I was looking at the days in the month and trying to map out where all of these tasks would get done. I was somewhere in the middle of the month, sipping my tea and wondering if 10 new tasks each day might be doable, when my son comes running out of the bathroom looking terrified and screams “There’s a lizard!”
Now one thing you gotta know is that we live on the edge of the woods and there are going to be critters in the house from time to time. I may not love it, but I have learned to live with it. So I grabbed the kitchen towel, got brave, and ‘rassled a rather large skink out the door.
Emergency solved. Mom to the rescue.
This encounter also led to an impromptu science lesson on skinks and this cute book my kids enjoyed.
When I returned to my list, though, I felt disheartened. It seemed like every day there was an emergency – or five – at home or at work. Every day something unexpected happened to interrupt all of my carefully laid plans.
That was when I knew for certain that my version of planning wasn’t working for me anymore. I set aside my monthly calendar and my massive list of tasks. I started researching how the top performers organize their days, prioritize their lives, and choose what tasks deserve their energy.
What I learned has changed my life. It isn’t just that I have new ways of organizing tasks… A new approach to planning my calendar… I have a new mindset about planning. For me, good time management wasn’t enough. Good prioritization wasn’t enough. My whole view on planning and distributing my time, talent, and mental load needed to be reworked. And I needed to seriously overhaul my approach to work-life balance.
People – so many people – started asking me how I did it all. At first I wasn’t sure what to say. Then, when I started sharing what I had learned with others I also started taking notes. Those notes led to a workshop and then to a book.
And the questions still keep coming. Every time I level up my productivity and the quality of my lifestyle at home I get new people coming to me asking for my secret.
Honestly, there is just too much good info to fit it all into one workshop or book. To start with, though, focus on the easiest things you can do on your own right now, even if you don’t yet have the mindset you need to become the CEO of your own life.
That’s where the book comes in…
Simple steps, organized by the time of day in which to enact them, and written in simple language so that you can flip through it on your way up the elevator or while you wait for your to-go coffee. Grab a discounted copy here.
And remember that there will always be surprise lizards and emergencies. There will always be something to interrupt your plans or to give you an excuse so you can push off a task that needs doing. The solution isn’t just better time management or a nice planner.