The one time-management trap that we all fall into is over-scheduling. This is probably one of the worst things you can possibly do if you’re trying to be more efficient with your time.
We almost always have a ton of things to do everyday. There are routine tasks that you need to accomplish. but then, there are also the bigger tasks that you need to accomplish – the bigger work projects.
The first thing you learn about the bigger work projects is to break them down into multiple tasks so they are more achievable. I agree and this is an excellent way to tackle projects. But, in doing so you are left with a multitude of minor tasks and then scheduling all these task become a menace.
Most time-mangement books seem to agree that you can achieve three big tasks a day and they should be your most important tasks. But, if you’re breaking up your major tasks, it’s quite likely that you can achieve far more than that.
And this is where things start to get a little dicey.
Once you realize that you can actually achive more than three tasks a day, you start to schedule i more and more. Often you don’t realize that not all tasks are equal and sometimes you may need much more time to just complete one mini task.
A good example is doing research. I can get lost in doing research. Jumping from one website to the next or just simply reading more pages of a book that I had originally intended to.
These are not time sinks because getting lost in research can not only give you a braoder perspective but it can also give you unlimited ideas to write about.
But, I digress.
Over the last few weeks as I pivot to my new work from home life, I overestimated how much time I would have. A few times it was the technology that failed me but, most often I got caught up in doing things at home that were long overdue. I didn’t realize that I was much too ambitious with my schedule.
The end result… I failed to keep up with much of what I’ve wanted to accomplish and I feel awful.
That’s the thing about over-scheduling. When you can check everythign off your list, you end up feeling like a failure. You don’t get that sense of accomplishment that you would normally get from getting things done. All you see is a neverending list of tasks that you haven’t completed and cannot hope to complete in the time you have left for the day.
So, allow yourself breathing space. Stope trying to accomplish and control every second of everyday. Just like in design, whitespace is essential to give the eyes some rest. So is, white time – blocks of time that free and without a schedule.
It’s better to feel like you got one thing done, than to feel like you’ve got twenty pending tasks to carry over.