When you wake up in the morning, how do you decide what you are going to do that day? Do you operate from a “to-do” list? Do you use a paper calendar? Do you set alerts on your phone? Or do you just “wing it” and try to remember to do all of the things your In Demand lifestyle asks of you?
As an IDW, you need to be on top of your game to meet all the demands of your active lifestyle. When you miss deadlines or neglect certain aspects of your life, you start to feel stress and can shut down. When you feel stress, you might find yourself emotionally eating (or NOT eating!). Your blood pressure rises, your sleep suffers and generally speaking, you don’t feel your best.
Let’s talk about some ways to prioritize all the things you need to get done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis so you can minimize your stress and feel more successful each and every day.
Wishing that your life was more simple is probably not the answer, so we want to educate you on ways to use your time efficiently and be more strategic.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
The first step is taking time each week, we recommend doing this on Sunday, to list all of the activities, events, obligations and deadlines you have for the week. Once you have written them all down, prioritize them into 3 categories: 1) need to get done 2) should get done 3) want to get done. Make sure you include time for yourself such as time for exercise, meal prepping and self-care.
After you have prioritized all the things on your calendar, then you will have a better idea of how you will spend each day and what tasks/events need to occur versus those that could be pushed off a day or even a week.
When you know what your priorities are, you can congratulate yourself on your success at the end of each day instead of feeling like you are spinning your wheels on insignificant events.
USE VISUAL AIDES TO BLOCK YOUR TIME
Once you have prioritized your time, it is important to remember those priorities as you go through each day. One effective technique is using color coding to indicate the prioritization indicated above. For example, red for “need to get done”, yellow for “should get done”, green for “want to get done”. If you use a digital calendar, this should be easily done through your calendar application (Outlook makes this really easy). If you use a paper calendar, get out your highlighter!
When you are able to clearly see what is on your agenda for the day, you will be able to best focus your energy and accomplish all that you need to do!
DON’T GET DISTRACTED!
Prioritizing your calendar and making it stand out visually is all well and good… BUT! Then you have to do it! Make sure you set aside time for fun, downtime, family time, etc. so you don’t get burned out. And when you are working on a “need to get done” task, don’t let anything else interrupt you! Turn off the sound on your phone, turn off notifications for e-mail, social media, etc. and FOCUS on what you need to do. Multi-tasking is not actually a thing [1, 2] and when we TRY to do it, we end up not doing our best job at any of the tasks we are trying to do all at the same time. As an In Demand Woman, you are of extreme value to your work, your family, your friends and your other commitments, and they each deserve the quality attention that you provide when you focus your energy.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
We know that this is probably the hardest part of being an IDW! Because you are so awesome and In Demand, EVERYONE wants you all the time. But that is not possible! And you need to focus on your needs! When you find your calendar too full of tasks that need to get done for others, go back to your prioritization and ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this now? Can someone else do it? Can it be done at a later time? Is this improving my life?” Yes, these are HARD questions. But when you are honest with yourself, and therefore with others, everyone will benefit.
At the end of the day, you need to feel good about the work you are putting in and the way you are spending your time and taking care of yourself and your loved ones. If you are spending time wishing that you could go escape to a quiet island where you wouldn’t be as In Demand, wake up from that fantasy Sister because it’s not going to happen! That said, when you change your mindset and really take the time to block out events and tasks in your calendar, you will create a more successful flow and find yourself working more efficiently. Don’t waste time wishing when some simple strategizing will help you be the BEST you can be!