In my recent posts about morning routines I shared with you all what my typical mornings look like then shared an outline of how to develop or “refresh” your morning routine. I hope it was inspiring to you. Today, in wrapping up my two cents on morning routines, as promised, I’m going to share with you a little more about the tracking system I use to keep my busy entrepreneurial #bossgirl, fitness-fanatic, wife, traveller life organized!
My top tips for prioritizing and tracking your day:
Write “to-do’s” down and prioritize them
Hold a vision
Maintain daily habits
Focus, focus, focus, rest, focus
I carry several tools in my belt to make sure those things happen. I’ve already shown you what my life looks like when those things happen (wake up, workout, breakfast, quiet time, day planning, etc.), but here are the “how’s” of making them happen.
To-do lists are my thing but I can go way overboard with them. Several times I’ve found myself writing every little task down and then feeling discouraged at the end of the day when there are still some left. Well, give me a break, when you have 25+ items on your list there’s no way to remember them all, yet alone get them all done! So, I’ve learned the hard way —> narrow your priorities. Choose 3,5 10, overarching (think umbrella) priorities that are vital for pushing you forward toward your goals. I have typically found that the few the priorities, the easier it is to accomplish and found five to be my happy place. Play with different numbers, find what works for you and stick with it. Every task you have should fit under these five umbrellas.
Envision the end of the day with these five tasks done. You should feel very accomplished! Envision completing these five tasks day after day for a week, a month, a year… amazing, right!?! This visionary process is the start of how I prioritize, making sure I don’t leave anything out. My top five today, for example, are here in bold with the specific tasks following:
Work: biz meeting and affiliate contacts
Clients: sessions, charting and client prep
Newsletter: write this post, draft the e-mail, plan my next Health Warrior interview questions (I’m so excited about this one, but am going to keep WHO it is a surprise… stay tuned and check it out later this month!!)
Personal: meal prep, laundry, quiet time, workout, brake check, e-mails (some of these are a part of my morning non-negotiables, like I mentioned in Morning Routines 2 of 3 - Refresh Your Routine, so I don’t prioritize them)
Future biz: write proposal, work on book
The next and most important step is PRIORITIZING. I adapted this prioritizing method from Mike Michalowicz. It took some getting used to, but try it for a couple days and you’ll be hooked!
The key: ! $ =) ∞
Assign each task on your list corresponding symbols. Here’s what the symbols mean —>
! = A task that is time-sensitive
$ = a task or project that will likely bring in money in the next 60 days (super useful for entrepreneurs who don’t want to waste their time on useless tasks, regardless of how important the task feels)
=) = for a top client or business partner (the idea here is to invest in the people you want to be working with or serving, not the ones who just take up your time or you feel like you have to work with, even for money).
∞ = creating or implementing a system, once put in place, you have work being done without having to actually work. For example, some people schedule all of their social media/marketing newsletters/etc. for a month or even a year at a time, thus, creating free time later!
A task with all four symbols gets done FIRST and the rest follow in order of priority. All tasks with “!” get done first. All tasks with “$” get done send. “=)” third and “∞” last. Most tasks will have more than one symbol attached, just keep following the order for a fool-proof way to make sure the most important things are done first.
If you’re totally a visual person, here’s what symbol order to do your tasks in:
etc., etc., etc...
Prevent yourself from getting carried away on big projects... you know, the ones that never end. I mentioned in Morning Routines 1 of 3 - My Morning Routine that I use an hours tracker app. I highly recommend it. That app and an occasional timer help keep me honest with how I spend my time. Right now is when I turn that on and get to work.
Lastly, none of this works consistently if you don't allow for some flexibility and follow a realistic timeline. Plan tasks around scheduled appointments as best as possible. Utilize opportunities for "multi-tasking," like listening to uplifting podcasts or audio books while driving places or catching up with long-distance friends while cleaning the house. You know! Get creative! And be ready for something unexpected to pop up. It's OK. It happens.
Now you’re on top of the mountain! The rest of the day is easy and smooth from here down.
Time to get started
What’s the top priority task on your list?