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Time and Task Management

How’s everyone’s week going? Mine’s been busy! It’s funny how you can have a plan, yet something always crops up to disrupt it. A new project is handed off to you, another meeting is scheduled, you know the kinds of things I’m talking about. So, what do you do when you have so many tasks that need to be done?

To be honest, I try to keep everything straight in my head. Crazy, right? I’d like to be the type to write everything down as they pop up, and I have the planners to prove it! But, I find it tough to lug around a planner and remember to use it. Honestly, it’s like another thing to add to my “To Do” list. However, when tasks start becoming unmanageable and anxiety begins to creep in, I do find it helpful to list everything on a sticky note or a scrap piece of paper. Writing everything down helps to make it more permanent in my head. I don’t always keep carrying the note around; for me, the initial jotting it down is enough to calm me and reminds me of what I need to get done. So, if you’re feeling the pressure of everything swirling around in your mind, get it down on paper, materialize it, then move on. Because now that you’ve seen it, you can consciously remind yourself that it’s do-able.

If that’s not enough for you (as it sometimes isn’t for me), try prioritizing that list. Start with the easiest or quickest task you can finish and go from there. Once you start marking off items, you build confidence and a history of getting things done. This reinforces the notion that you are capable and can handle things when life gets a little chaotic. Developing that pattern is crucial for those times you feel so overwhelmed you don’t think you’ll ever get anything done. You want to be able to pull from memory times that refute that belief. So, start shifting tasks around and checking them off. And for those larger items, try breaking them down into manageable pieces. It’s more fun crossing out multiple items quickly rather than one big item slowly anyway!

Now, one of the simplest ways to manage your time and tasks is to say “no”. Unfortunately, this can also be the most difficult thing to do. As someone who likes to help people, it’s tough for me to refuse a request for help. However, I can’t do it all, and neither can you. There’s nothing wrong with considering your schedule and well-being before agreeing to something. Spreading yourself too thin and only putting a fraction of your effort into something serves no one well. And I’m sure if asked, those requesting your assistance would rather have your full attention on a task anyway. If saying no is something you struggle with, think of some ways you can offset that impact. Here’s an example of a conversation where this would be used:

Friend: “Hey, we need someone to lead a small group this semester. You led one last year; could you lead again?”

You: “Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t this time. Have you thought about asking Emily? She was helpful in my past group, and I think she’d make a good leader.”

In this case, you declined the request, but you offset the impact of not being able to help personally, by offering up a helpful suggestion.

There are a lot of tools out there to help us maximize our time and manage our tasks. But these are a few things that help me and, hopefully, now you! We all live busy lives, but it’s possible to manage our chores, so we can enjoy those lives more.

Let us know how you keep things together in the comments below!

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