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Priority Treatment Reduces Stress

December 8, 2015

So here you are in early December with the expanded To Do List and social events to attend—how’s your stress level? The last three people I’ve spoken to this week are “already feeling the crunch” of the holiday season and stressed out.

Whether you’re in the rush of attending all your children’s special events, focused on closing that big deal to end the year with a bang and exceed your financial goal, or dealing with the impending loneliness that you feel around the holidays, it can be overwhelming.

One very simple thing that I do to eliminate stress is to prioritize what actually has to be done during the next day the night before.

Women have a tendency to get caught up in making a super To Do List which is unrealistic and includes all the things you want to do, the things you’ve got to do and the critical things that have a deadline approaching or past.

Priority Treatment Process:

This is best done at the end of the day. I like to use a white board for planning, but a computer will work as well (where you can cut and paste).

Step 1

  • First write down the things that absolutely must be done tomorrow.
  • Next list the things that you can do tomorrow to avoid pressure of putting them off.
  • Lastly list the things you want to do tomorrow.

Step 2

  • Open your calendar
  • Write down each things that must be done tomorrow and assign it a time slot on your calendar. List it as 15, 30 or 60 minutes on your schedule. Put the thing you’re dreading or avoiding down early in the day so you can get it done. We call that eating the big frog first.
  • Next add the things you can to do tomorrow to avoid the last minute crunch of a deadline. As above, schedule on your calendar in a time slot with 15, 30 or 60 minutes.
  • Review your calendar. It is now likely filled with meetings, your To Do List items, social events, errands and your workout (I hope!). Have your allowed yourself enough time to complete each item on your calendar? Have you allowed enough drive time to arrive for your appointments on time ? Adjust as needed.
  • Add a couple of free spaces (15 mins.) between appointments on your calendar for tasks that may not go as planned.
  • Lastly, now you can add in a couple of the things you want to do tomorrow where you have free spaces in your calendar.

Step 3

  • Now when you review your calendar you’ll see a realistic list of To Do Items that are physically possible to accomplish tomorrow!
  • Complete this exercise at the end of your work day or before you go to bed. The reason? Your subconscious will begin working on tomorrow’s task while you sleep and you’ll perform them more quickly.

By giving your To Do List the proper priority treatment, and recognizing what you can realistically accomplish in one day, you’ll reduce your guilt from all the things you didn’t get done. And you’ll find by scheduling this way that you end up with more time, because this process provides you with better productivity and efficiency (as you’ve given yourself a limited time to complete each task).

Like anything new, this process takes some practice to master. Don’t beat up on yourself. Try again and do better the next day. It took me a couple of weeks to really get the hang of it when I first started to use it.

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