As a mother of five, wife, editor, writer, business owner and volunteer, I often wish I had a professional project manager to help me manage my daily responsibilities. I am surrounded by someone needing something every minute of the day.
Since I lost a LOT of brain cells having children (not scientifically proven, but agreed upon by mothers everywhere) I just can't seem to remember everything that needs to get done. At any given time, I'm close to panicking about what am just about to forget. Tasks that need doing dance into my consciousness and waltz out on an alarming rate. Am I alone in this state of information overload???
Author David Allen wrote a great book called "Getting Things Done" and identifies this condition as common. It seems most of us take on more than we have the resources to handle. Leaving many of us to some degree frustrated and perplexed as to how to improve the situation.
Of course, Mr. Allen wrote an entire book about getting control of all our stuff. But I want to share something that impacted me. Allen writes:
"The big problem is that your mind keeps reminding you of things when you can't do anything about them. It has no sense of past or future. That means as soon as you store it in your RAM, there's a part of you that thinks you should be doing that something all the time. Everything you've told yourself you ought to do, it thinks you should be doing right now. Frankly, as soon as you have two things to do stored in your RAM, you've generated personal failure, because you can't do them both at the same time. This produces an all-pervasive stress factor whose source can't be pinpointed."
That sure explains a few things. Like why I can feel so overwhelmed, it's just easier to turn on the television, than deal with the stress.
So what's the answer? Obviously it's more detailed that this, but in a nutshell, we need to capture all the information we need to remember, get it out of our overloaded minds, and store it in a place where we won't forget to look. We actually need to write down every little detail of what it will take to get a job done, not just the job. For example, I tend to write down a big task - like write my next book - but then have trouble knowing where to start.
This means we need to take the time to THINK about our responsibilities, break them down into individual tasks, then record those tasks.
There are many systems for managing our to-do lists, and since I'm trying to focus on office organization this month, I'll postpone that discussion until later. For now, I wanted to leave you with this one idea for managing all you have to do.
In case you think you need to spend a lot of money to get organized, listen to this: My first boss ran a multi-million dollar business with a yellow legal pad and a calendar. Yup. That's it. No fancy electronic equipment for her. She captured everything she had to do and everything she asked other people to do on that pad, and never fogot a thing.
So take some time to think about what you need to get done, break those jobs/projects/needs down into individual action steps and record it somewhere you'll look every day. Target sells steno note pads for about $1.50. That might be a good place to start.
In His Love,