This year my friend Angus decided he was going to have the best summer of his life. Without any real plans, he worked his way across the country – making friends and taking on adventures from the silly and ordinary to outright epic.
He posted the good stuff on Facebook with heartfelt messages of love, freedom and passion for living life just for today. My hat’s off to you, Angus.
Angus inspires me to wake up every morning determined to have a great day. Even though, I’ve got a full schedule, I rarely know what I’m walking into – what challenges, surprises or hilarious capers each day will hold for me. Knowing for certain that whatever happens, the only thing I can control is my attitude – how I choose to feel about my day’s events.
I’m having a great summer – and this year, it feels like one of the most intentional things I’ve ever done. After a long winter in the Colorado high country, my soul needs a little warm sunshine to thaw me out. This year, my wife and I blocked off several weekends to do some family camping with our four-year old. We penciled in the dates when we knew we’d have house guests. We scheduled a couple parties we wanted to host. And we set aside one evening a week, just for us to reconnect.
For the first time in a few years, I’m making time to get back in my kayak. I’ve traded in a few old bikes for a new mountain bike. I’m still making time for martial arts, hikes up Mushroom Rock and the occasional movie. I spend quality time with my daughter every day, and have committed to reconnecting with my wife throughout the week.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working a ton. In fact, I’m enjoying my busiest year in the three years I’ve been in business. So, what’s the trick?
These are my top 3 secrets to time and task management.
1. Schedule everything.
Pick a paper calendar (I recommend the Blue Sky brand monthly/weekly at-a-glance) or an e-calendar that suits you. Get religious about scheduling everything you want to do, including appointments and to-do items (what I call tasks). Look at your calendar first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and right before bed. Check in with it frequently enough to jog your memory about what you need to do and where you need to be. There are a ton of apps to help set reminders and organize the minutia. Pick one and get religious about using it daily.
2. Assign deadlines to every task. Never underestimate what you’ll never do when you leave things to chance. Hold yourself accountable to things you have identified to be important. Tasks are one-off’s. That means, usually they involve doing one thing one time – and then they’re done. Schedule them, assign a deadline, and then FOLLOW-THROUGH with resolve.
3. Consider your own priorities as priorities. We tend to show up for other people better than we do for ourselves. Start treating yourself as a boss (or better yet – a client), and you’ll be amazed at how well you begin to follow through on your own behalf. Choose what’s important to you – and then follow through with integrity. Model this for your kids, and they’ll thank you for it when they’re older.
At the beginning of every month, I make lists of the things I want to do on the monthly at-a-glance part of my calendar. I check in with those things every week, until every single item is scheduled somewhere. At the end of the month, I can look back and see what I’ve done, who I’ve reconnected with – and I feel great about maximizing my productivity.
Doing everything you want to do is not difficult; it just takes being intentional and following through with integrity. Cheers to you, Angus for modeling intention (spontaneity) and showing the rest of us how to live the good life!