I’ve made a small change in my daily schedule and it’s already reaping huge rewards for me.
Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with just keeping the basics of my life in order as my job is gotten crazier and crazier. Before this week, I would wake up around 7 AM, take the dog out, hit the shower, and head to work after getting quickly dressed. From alarm to starting the engine, it was roughly a 30 minute process. By the nature of the industry I’m in (there’s always someone at my work doing something), when I arrive at work, I already am facing a dozen emails to respond to – some important, others not so much but still requiring some sort of reply. Any time I thought I would have to do administrative tasks at the office would already be gone by just playing catch-up from the new fires that just popped up during my commute or overnight.
Given this, I think that the only way that I can really feel like I have control my day is to spend a little bit of time planning my day. I’ll never to have control over my day 100% and I’m never going to be able to spend eight hours doing exactly what I thought I’d be doing. It’s just not the nature of my job anymore. However, I do think that it is important to at least start the day with an idea what you can realistically get done and not get done and push the lesser items off until tomorrow. I’m now getting up an hour earlier than I used to, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and spending some time in OmniFocus & reading through my email – really sorting through what I’m going to be doing that day. Once I know what I need to do (and what I actually can do), I block that time off in my work calendar for each task, ensuring that things get done. And it’s working.
It’s only been about two weeks but I’m much more relaxed and feel like I’m ‘in control’ of my day a bit more. Funny how spending just a half hour thinking about how you are going to spend each hour of your day, blocking it out on your calendar, and prioritizing tasks (for the inevitable moment where something gets pushed back because of a fire or emergency meeting) helps you feel in control of anything that comes your way, because you’ve done the extra legwork to make sure the demands of the day line up with the reality of time & attention available.