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My Approach to Time Management

Ron Swanson - Half AssI have a new to-do list and time management “system” that has been keeping me super focused. I’m simply writing my top must-do items on a big white board in priority order and setting it right in front of my desk. I only do one thing at a time and don’t move onto the next one until I complete the one before it. I have been cranking through my to-do list like a boss using this super simple method.

Why does it work?

Because I’m not trying to multitask. If you listen to my podcast, in one of the episodes I talked about how we lose so much of our time and productivity when we juggle too much or try to do more than one thing at once. Many people think multi-tasking is a good thing. I often hear clients say, “I’m a really good multi-tasker.” But that isn’t necessarily something to be proud of because when you do it, you’re actually killing your time. Like Ron Swanson says in his quote above, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”

When you have one thing to do, you focus 100% of your brainpower and time on that single thing. When you add a second thing and try to do both, you don’t get 50% for one and 50% for the other. You actually only get 40% for each one and lose 20% of your time and focus on the transitioning between the two. You have to get re-aligned to what you were doing and get your mind back to the other task thus losing time and energy in the process. Add more tasks and you lose even more time and productivity. I read a stat that if you have five things you are juggling, you are only getting 30% of your time and focus for the actual work and 70% is lost in the switching between them all. 70% of your time GONE just because you’re doing more than one thing at once. YIKES!

So what’s the lesson for you?

It’s simply this – do one thing at a time and do it until it’s done. Then move onto the next thing. Sounds easy right? It’s not. We are so used to juggling a million things that getting back to focus is really hard work. But if you can start doing it with your small tasks, the bigger ones won’t be so draining and daunting.

Also – be sure your phone isn’t sucking your time and happiness. We spend 90+ minutes a day on our phones and for many of us it’s A LOT more doing really pointless and unproductive stuff.

TALK TO ME: How can you be more aware and focus on what really matters when you’re prioritizing your tasks? What time-management system works for you?