Breaking it down
So this last week I’ve been struggling a lot.. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, behind on projects and totally exhausted.. This last year, I’ve been learning a lot about myself and about how to keep focused and productive while I work from home and continue to build my own business, and for some reason this last week I forgot about all that and just let life overwhelm me.
This fall I started to implement a more task based approach to getting things done vs. project based.. Breaking down projects and larger tasks into a whole bunch of smaller tasks and checking things off as I go. As I get to the end of each day, I can look back and see how much I really accomplished instead of feeling dejected that I didn’t get the larger project completed like I hoped.
I’m still a work of progress, but I want to share this lesson with you as I learn it.. It feels so good to check all these little things off my list and see the progression in the projects. If you have something big you are working on, or overwhelming task looming on your calendar I challenge you to break it down into smaller pieces.
I’ve started using two methods to do this:
- I’ve been using a task management tool called “Todoist”. Its an app on my phone as well as on my computer and allows me to segment tasks by project, assign them to dates, set recurring tasks, and set goals for how many tasks I want to get in a day. It also gives me a score as well as showing how many days in a row I’ve met my goals as well as my longest streak so it makes it a bit of a game. It’s a free tool and has upgrade options for more advanced features, but I find the basic version is working great for me at this point to keep me on track
- Calendar Blocking – I’ve seen this on a few Youtube Channels & podcasts that I listen to about productivity which is why I wanted to give them a try. As much as breaking big projects down helps to make things less overwhelming, I still need to be purposeful in how I go through those tasks so I’m not bouncing around and wasting time bouncing around from project to project or checking email too often. What I’ve started to do is block off chunks of my day (no longer then a couple hours at a time) to focus on specific projects, and then move on to the next one. It often depends on the specific project I’m working on if I need to just take the whole day, or smaller chunks, but calendar blocking does two things for me. 1. It gives me a deadline to work within instead of an open amount of time, forcing me to work hard and push towards getting what I’ve set out to get done efficiently. 2. It gives me a chance to give my brain a break and come back to the project another time so that I don’t get stuck or loose focus after working on something for a long timeThere will be times where I’m ‘in a groove’ and really getting things done effectively and efficiently and it’s better for me to just keep working on that project, so being mindful of that while I’m working and being flexible is important, but having this tool helps me on most days when I need to have that structure to work with.
How about you? What do you do to stay focused, productive and efficient with your time? I always love learning and would love to hear more about what works for you!