The beginning is half of every action

Wouldn’t it be great to have more free time to do the things that you want to do? Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to get your chores, jobs and other bits and bobs done more quickly and efficiently? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to no longer procrastinate over the things that you’re putting off?

It is entirely possible and easy to do too. Just by creating some new habits, integrating some planning and by getting tasks done as they come up, you can create the free time that you crave!

I bet you have a to-do list with things that have been passed from day-to-day, month to month and so on. Yep, been there!  Both in work and at home!  To the point that I still need to finish my decking from 6 years ago! (blah!)

It is so easy to procrastinate over the jobs that you least enjoy doing which is why you need to get them out-of-the-way first.  That way you will feel great for having completed them and will have the drive to get more things done.

The best way to start this process is to grab all the to-do lists, post-its, envelopes with scrawled tasks or information, calendars, paper diaries and any other item that has things that need doing. Bring them together and place them in front of you. Overwhelming, huh? Don’t let it put you off though and don’t be tempted to fall into procrastination again (I know you were about to click onto the Facebook tab!) as it is part of the process that will start to free up you time and have you working smoother and slicker than you ever even imagined!

Now grab some paper and a pen and write down any of the things that you need to do that are floating around your head. Pop these into the pile of to-dos. Dump everything that you need to do into this pile so that it can be sorted out.  You may find that a lot of them don’t even really need doing or are things that you can delegate to someone else (how great does that sound?) See, I told you things would get better!

Set yourself up with four piles and a bin (or boxes which are even better if you have some) and go through each piece of paper/note/scrawl etc and answer the following question.

Label each pile or box with the following:

DO IT

DELEGATE IT

DEFER IT

FILE IT

and of course DUMP IT for the bin.

Is there an action to be taken there?

If the answer is ‘NO‘ then work out whether you actually need the momo or note and if not, bin it! Be ruthless here, you don’t want hings lingering over you that are of no use!  If you do need it, work out whether it is something that is reference or will be actioned later and pop it into the right box.

To help you to decide which pile each needs to go into, here are some examples:

DO IT

If it is something that will take less than 5 minutes to complete, pop it in the DO IT pile.  These can be things like tidy up the kitchen before going to bed or put the books back on the shelf before leaving the house for example.

DELEGATE IT

If it is something that someone else can realistically do for you. For example, getting the children to put away their own books before they go to bed or asking your other half to wash up the dishes after you have eaten your evening meal. (this is not the place to put everything that you don’t want to do and want to pass onto someone else!  Just be realistic!)

DEFER IT

This is for things that are non-urgent that you can always add to your calendar to do later on or that can be fitted in when you have some free time. For example, painting the garage doors.

FILE IT

Things that you do need to keep like bank statements (if you still get paper) or pay slips.  You might even use this file for items that you might need to reference in the future or that you might want to review the next time you repeat this session. (you will separate these off later, but for now pop them into this pile)

DUMP IT

For anything that is of no use e.g. an old shopping list or a magazine that you have been meaning to read for the past three months or a phone message that you forgot to pass on.

Now that you have your piles done, you can begin turning them into actions.  Go through your DO IT pile first and pop them onto a to-do list, breaking down the tasks if they are quite chunky e.g. tidy lounge, dust lounge etc. Write every action onto the paper.

Next go onto your DELEGATE IT pile and write down the actions that you will need to take for each of the items there e.g. ask Helene to pick up the children on Thursday.

Do the same for the DEFER IT pile and the FILE IT pile so you can see exactly what you have to do to move forward with your tasks.

Review the tasks and pop a deadline next to the items.  You might want to start with the DEFER IT items as they are jobs for the future or to review later on, then work back tothe top of the list working out when you will do the items.

Right, you have a definitive list of things that need to get done.  What are you going to do now? Well get on with it of course.

Yes, other things and new things are gong to crop up as that is life.  So you will need to hold reviews of the list and to tweak it occasionally. I would recommend blocking off some time to hold a weekly review so that you can plan your time wisely and make sure that the necessary things get done.

Don’t beat yourself up if things get pushed on, just remember to ask yourself whether it is a necessary task or whether it would be better suited being delegated to someone else?

Start each day by doing the horrible tasks, that way it will get the yuck out-of-the-way and (hopefully) prevent you from procrastinating.  Notice you don’t procrastinate over the jobs you don’t mind doing…!

See how you get on and how much free time you can create for yourself.  I’d love to hear how you get on!

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