by Melanie Spring
Has your to-do list become so ridiculous you end up weeping at the thought of it? Maybe you're hiding under the proverbial covers. You're afraid to start any task because you feel you'll never accomplish any of it. Or you just take care of the fluffy stuff because it's what makes you feel good. Maybe it's just me but I feel like I can't be the only one putting in long hours while still having way more than possible left on a to-do list.
To-do lists are supposed to help us make things happen.
May 1, 2012 marks the completion of our third year in business and looking back at the first quarter of this year, our sales are at 200% of what we were in the first quarter of 2011. All the branding, marketing, growing, hiring, growing more, hiring again, and delegation we've been up to has allowed us to start focusing on our ideal clients, acquiring them and happily hum right along with them. This also means twice the amount of work for my staff but still only one person managing Sisarina - me.
When I got to the office last Monday, I found myself floating around listlessly while taking care of projects, meetings, phone calls, realizing how exhausted I was but watching myself work until 11pm without feeling any sense of real accomplishment. I had reached the point of not creating a to-do list anymore, I was in the mode of "just get what is absolutely necessary done so your clients are happy and your future clients are going to be happy" when in reality, I had a lot more things to do besides taking care of immediate needs. When would I have time to do those things on my lovely little to-do list. It had become my to-doom list.
Each time I've been at the point of overwhelm with my life-consuming to-do list, I have a few immediate reactions:
pretend there is no to-do list & just work a lot.
pour a glass of wine (ok, maybe the bottle).
ask Twitter how they cope.
write a blog post as self-help piece.
Being as connected as I have become, I have a plethora of life coaches, business coaches and professional organizers around me. They explain how I can keep my life organized with ease and stop feeling so out of control. They make it sound so easy. All of them start with "write a list." They tell me to use whatever application I think is best - web or analog. Just write one.
"Ok, just let me finish responding to the 27 urgent emails in my inbox... and make sure all of my clients have their files... and answer the three phone calls that come in within the next 15 minutes... and oh, someone just tweeted me, I should respond... and update a quick Trello note so my project manager can do her job... and click on the article my employee just sent me... and read that article briefly... and send it to my other employee so I can interrupt her day... and check my dad's text about the new crate he just made... and add something really quick to my portfolio so that new client can see what we've done... and there's my 2pm meeting... and..."
I know I'm not the first entrepreneur or executive (or even hardworking employee) with this problem. If I was there wouldn't be copious amounts of books written on this very topic. But how does one with so little time have the time to read a book about time management?!
It's 11:53 on a Wednesday night as a write this from under my covers (yes, the real ones) and find myself on a quest to make my life more manageable. If you're feeling my pain, stick with me and we'll learn this together. If you have the answers to all my problems, feel free to comment here with them.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
1. HOW TO: Break Down Your To-Do List
2. BEST APPS: Keeping Track of Your To-Do List
3. HOW TO: Create a Daily To-Do List (Without Losing Your Mind)