Too much to do? Papers... papers everywhere? Disorganised? A cluttered mind? No wonder you find it hard to sleep. Follow these steps:
Leave a tidy desk and a tidy place before retiring to bed. Knowing you have to get up to chaos will play on your mind. It is said that turmoil on your desk produces turmoil in your mind, hardly conducive to sleep.
Make a plan for tomorrow at the end of each day. A mental record is not enough. Write down all the tasks you can realistically do tomorrow & put them in priority order. Place your list where you can see it when you get up. You won’t want to waste time searching for it!
Do the most important tasks first. Don’t opt for the easiest or shortest tasks first just to reduce the list. Do what matters & you’ll get a sense of achievement at the end of each day.
Build patterns into your working day. First check your to-do-list & your mails/texts. Next do the most important task on your list, then the second & so on. Have regular breaks, morning, lunch & afternoon – real breaks for a walk, a drink, a chat. Finally write tomorrow’s to-do-list and tidy your desk.
Build patterns into your week. Apply your daily pattern across the week, adding in other regular events. How about regular meeting on a Wednesday morning, report writing on Thursday mornings for example? Don’t forget times for family, to see friends, see a film or catch up on reading. Patterns give you control of your time & are a great counter to stressful situations. You know where you are and when – and so do others.
Be assertive: protect your time. Say ‘no’ to unwelcome intrusions on your time. “I’m not able to meet tomorrow, but Friday afternoon is fine”. Having patterns will make this easier.
Set boundaries on meetings, conversations & phone calls: “I have ten minutes now” or “the meeting starts at 10 am and finishes at 11 am”.
Use a year planner. Buy a planner with the months shown horizontally. Use different colour sticky dots for your events, meetings, holidays and your goals. Don’t forget to give yourself an occasional Me-Day spread across the year. This visual planner will show you at a second’s glance what is happening this week, this month & this year.
Lucy Seifert is a Life & Executive Coach & Author and a specialist in assertiveness, time & stress management, communication, public speaking & confident self-presentation.