Over the years I have got really good at managing my own expectations, and not setting myself up to fail, but it wasn’t always the case. I love getting things done. The sense of achievement that I get when I cross something off my to-do list is akin to when someone goes to the gym for an hour. It’s my happy moment. I feel like I’ve really done something worthwhile and I’m a little bit closer to achieving my bigger goal. Although this is a great motivator it can also be a double edged sword as I was creating crazy to do lists that just weren’t achievable.
Sure, if I didn’t have a business, kids, a dog, a house to run, other commitments, the regular interruptions that we all have to deal with and a husband I like to hang out with once in a while, and I worked non-stop, I might have stood a chance, but in the real world with everything else that I had going on it was a non-starter. Although deep down I knew this, each week I still gave it my best shot and although I’d get some of it done I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.
So, what did I do? Did I learn from my lesson? Not yet, no. Instead I’d put the same things on my to-do list the following week with a whole bunch of other stuff that now needed to be done, and hey presto I was in Groundhog Day, with a list that drove me crazy!!
It was after doing this for the longest time that I realised one day that I was doing this to myself. No-one was setting me these deadlines. They were my doing. No one was writing this to do list. It was all me. The pressure I was under, was all self-imposed!
Time for a re-think and to break a few habits…so, if you can relate and this is something you need to sort out take a look at the following:
1. Be realistic with what you can achieve
You know what your day is like, so don’t work against it work with it. If you have loads of other commitments in that particular day go easy on yourself. If you have a day that is a bit more flexible and free, work to get more done, always making sure that you factor in the amount of time needed for the size of the project.
2. Do one key thing every day that when you cross it off your list it makes you feel amazing
You might not be able to do everything that you want to everyday, so instead work to achieving something that will really make a difference to you. That one thing that keeps cropping up on your to do list. How good would it feel to cross that baby off your list?
3. Don’t search for perfection
Often we spend ages titivating, and editing and formatting. Instead of searching for perfection, just aim to get it done. Good is often good enough.
4. Look for good short cuts and work-arounds
If there’s a good work-around, or short cut, or piece of technology that will make your life easier then use it. Take a look at your recurring tasks – is there another way to do these? A system you can set up to make it quicker and easier? Or someone you can delegate to?
5. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else
Finally, it really doesn’t matter how much other people get done, or what their life is like, or how early they get up, or what time they go to bed, or when their kids go to bed – what matters is that your systems, work for you, your role and your family.
So, time to give yourself a bit of TLC, and stop piling on the pressure.