I contiue to struggle to be more efficient and effective.
As I try to cram more into each day the biggest obstacle I have other than the the 24 hour limit each day is me. It isn’t natural for me to be efficient. My nature is to put things off and fritter time away on things which don’t take me closer to my goals. There are tools that I use that help me get control. First is a calendar to store all my appointments. It is important to have all those appointments in a central location where it is easy to see and analyze what is going on. For many years I used a Franklin Planner to keep my personal calendar. It worked pretty well although I had to make an effort to include all my personal committments into the business committments on which it was focused. It was also bulky to lug around. I was never able to persuade myself to spend the money on a PDA but last year I was convinced to try a smartphone which can sync with my office calendar in Outlook. So far I am liking the convenience of being able to check my schedule anytime and anywhere. It is also less bulky than the Franklin and it can handle contacts and email to boot.
The calendar is just basic foundation for managing my life. I would have no hope for staying on track without it. Being efficient and getting more done is another thing. I have to push my limits by making sure that my calendar is full. Here I struggle against my comfort level. I am uncomforable with pressure and a full calendar represents big pressure to me. My daily to do list is a help because here I can put all the things that I would like to accomplish during the day without feeling that I have to get them all dome. In my calendar, I block times that are available and in my daily to do list is an action item which contributes to booking the activities into those times. The trick is to get myself to do the activities that will fill my calendar. I have to pressure myself to believe that I am able to take on more. Here I resort to setting deadlines and commitments for action as an incentive to take on more activities. This kind of pressure happens naturally in a work environment. Deadlines are real and important because continued employment depends on meeting them. Personal deadlines are harder to enforce because you both set and monitor them and , for I am much too easy on myself. For some reason my personal goals are expendable while my employer’s are not.
It is better if I plan a week at a time with a definite number of activites and then do what I can to make them happen. It is also better if i can discipline myself to withhold something I want unless I accomplish a goal. Here again my nature is self-indulgent and it takes all my will power to hold myself accountable. As I began this post, it is a continuing struggle to push myself to be better and do more. I don’t have any superior insights about techniques. What I do know is that it requires my continuing attention. I am interested to know if others have found ways to improve in this area. It so please share.