Owning and running your own business can be overwhelming.
You have a lot of spinning plates in the air and there is constant worry that some will drop or break.
You’re haunted by that feeling that no matter what you’re doing, you’re forgetting something else or something is falling through the cracks.
One of the things I love to do is help clients get out of that “too much to do” paralysis and back into a positive place of actionable organization.
Today I am going to explain a process that will help you sort it all out, figure out a step-by-step plan, and take action!
Step One: Brain Dump
The goal of the brain dump is to get everything swirling in your head—every to-do, every goal, every task, every worry—written down on paper.
Think of it as a complete “download.” You are going to write down every thought in your head: personal and professional, big and small.
Don’t worry about form, structure, or grammar, just write it down. Think of all the lists you have in your life: your notebook, your planner, your bulletin board, your calendar—write down all of it.
There is no doing this “right,” it’s just about getting it out of your head and all in one place.
When I am working with clients, I have a tactic I call the “Super Secret Jedi Mind Trick” for doing a brain dump—if you are interested in learning about it we will be using this tactic in the Free Get Stuff Done Day on April 23 (more about that at the end of this article!).
Step 2: Sort Into Categories
Now that you’ve gotten all of your thoughts and to-do’s out of your head, you need to sort them into categories.
Look at each item on your list and categorize it based on the time needed to complete it.
Is it a one-off task that can be done in one sitting? If so, will it take 5-10 minutes? 30-60 minutes?
Or is it a project that needs multiple time slots on multiple days?
Note deadlines if a project has a firm due date.
If you aren’t sure how long something will take you, take your best guess.
Tip: Be sure to take your track record for time estimations into account. It’s human nature to underestimate the time to complete a project. Think of past projects: do you tend to underestimate or overestimate the time involved? If they took longer than your estimate, do you need to adjust your time estimate up by 20%? 30%? My rule of thumb is to give it 50% more time than you think you’ll need. If you think it will take one hour, give yourself 1.5 hours so you have some transition and buffer time.
Step 3: Map Them Out
Once all of your projects are sorted into categories, it’s time to map them out on your calendar.
If they have deadlines, note the deadline and work backward to make sure you block out the time needed to complete it before the due date.
If tasks are repeating in nature, choose a day/time each week or month to complete the work.
Tip: For some people it may help to do this mapping on a piece of paper or a whiteboard—if you are a visual processor this is especially helpful.
Traps to Avoid
Part of getting out of the cycle of “too much to do, too little time” is recognizing the habits you need to break; habits that can actually cause or contribute to disorganization. Examples would be:
Being “go-go-go” all the time: If you are constantly on the run from one meeting to the next or one appointment to the next, you will inevitably drop some balls. Everyone needs time to collect their thoughts before moving on to the next task; give yourself buffer time and room to breathe between appointments/activities.
Keeping multiple lists: When you did your brain dump (step 1), how many places did you have things written down? If you found you had to check your calendar, a to-do list, an app on your phone, and more, you need to think of a new system (electronic for some, paper for others—it depends on the person) that allows you to record all of your notes, thoughts, and tasks in one place.
Join My Next Get Stuff Done Day And Turn “Too Much To Do” Into “Got Stuff Done!”
What is one big thing (or a few small things) you want to get done before the end of this month?
Maybe you want to...
Plan your blog and social media posts for next month
Update your website
Work on your marketing plan
Send thank you and birthday cards
Write an article
Organize your office
Clear out your in-box
Whether you’ve been overwhelmed, distracted, procrastinating, or truly haven’t had time to tackle your project, you can get it done now during Get Stuff Done Day.
Click the link below to learn more—I can’t wait to meet you and help you Get Stuff Done!
Until next time,