Happy 2018 everyone! If you ask me, January is a month full of makeovers in the self-improvement department. That’s why this month on Scout The City, I’m going to focus on the whole “new year, new you,” concept. We’re talking about a fresh wave of newness in all categories: workouts, wardrobes, beauty routines, eating habits, organizing your time and heck maybe even how you organize your sock drawer. I’m a big believer in making small changes to build healthy new habits, and I can’t wait to get started on a new year full of new adventures. No matter how glamorous you already are, changing up some aspects of your life will keep things fresh, fun, and exciting.
One of the most lethal threats to your goals is crummy time management. Have you ever heard anyone say, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce?” That’s a wake-up call, amiright? A female is a diva version of a hustlaaa…and it seems like Queen B hustles to reach her goals and outdo herself every year. Time is extremely valuable because it’s a nonrenewable resource, and the way you choose to spend it every day is simultaneously building your present and your future. Today, I thought we’d kick off January with some ways to prioritize effectively so that we can all live better lives this year.
Make A List
Have you ever thought you had everything under control, and suddenly you get an email about the urgent project due in an hour that you totally forgot about? Yeah, me too. Putting a pencil to paper will help you retain information and keep things from slipping through the cracks. Write down every task you’d like to get done within a specific period of time. Some people prefer to do this on a day-to-day basis and others like using a weekly list, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Identify What’s Non-Negotiable
Split up your obligations based on what you need to get done and what you’d like to get done. Obviously, the needs trump the wants. If you have a huge presentation at work tomorrow, but your kitchen is so dirty that it could be confused with the living room, you’re still going to want to tackle the presentation prep first. Otherwise, you might spend all night scrubbing the kitchen until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building, and turn into a deer in the headlights at your presentation the next day.
Start With The Hardest Task
When tackling a to-do list, it’s best to put the one thing you’re dreading the most or that takes the most time at the top. You’ll have more energy when tackling it and won’t set yourself up for an inevitably bad date with your problematic friend procrastination. Start with the most un-fun but necessary task on your list, and the rest will be smooth sailing.
Put Your Goals First
If you want to reach your goals, you’ve got to prioritize them. After you knock out all of the things that you absolutely have to do, make sure your number one goal is the first thing you tackle next. Whether it’s spending more time with your family, getting your butt to the gym, or calling your siblings more often, give your main goal a prime spot on your agenda.
Multitasking is the norm in this day and age, and as a working mom, I’m usually doing at least two things at once. Even though we feel like we’re cheating the system when we double up on tasks, the truth is that single-tasking is typically more productive. Yup. Doing one thing at a time is totally in and totally effective when you can swing it. Put your phone away, close extra browsers (buh-bye Facebook), avoid looking at your email, and you’ll conquer your list at record speed.
Remember To Schedule Self Care
Once on a particularly chaotic week when the sight of my agenda was making me pull my hair out, one of my girlfriends said to me, “just remember the most important thing.” In my stress-induced state, I had no idea what she could be referring to so I asked, and she said, “taking care of yourself.” It should have been obvious to me, but with kids and a crazy work schedule, I often put my own needs on the backburner. It may create a short-term solution on your busy days, but if you continually do this you’ll end up feeling burnt out and haggard. Getting enough sleep should be one of the items you put on the needs list as should fueling your body. And if you feel your mental health is waning, don’t feel guilty about dropping everything for some R&R. My friend was right. You can’t kick ass and take names if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Know When To Stop
Some days or weeks will be jam-packed, and you just won’t be able to get to everything. That’s okay. You’ve only got two arms, sleeping is a thing you’re supposed to do, and cloning isn’t yet commonly practiced. More often than not there will still be a few items on your list sans check marks. Learn to leave them. You can always carry over tasks to the next day or week, and whenever possible, just cut it out.
As we head into 2018, I hope these tips on prioritizing will help you tackle your to-do lists and reach your goals á la Queen B. Time management is tricky to master so be patient with yourself and remember to come to the table with good vibes.