The Tyranny of the Day

The Cruel and Oppressive To-Do List

Can you relate to this?  Time management is a beautiful thing with it’s colorful sticky notes and glorious to-do lists.  We’re in a never-ending cycle of plotting, planning and syncing.  Yet there are times when it feels like it’s dragging me down and taking a vacuum to my motivation.  We all get stuck in this riptide or, as I like to call it, The Tyranny of the Day.

You know the drill.  You’re going through the day ticking off those so-called “urgent” items on the list and before you know it, the day is over and you’re wondering what did you really accomplish.  If you’re not careful, days like those become weeks, weeks become months and you begin to lose focus.  Your time is now controlled by the list and the requests of others.  We feel less accomplished and more critical of ourselves.

We all have those days, but I caution you not to let them turn into weeks, or longer. 

I’ve created a system that really works for me.  It helps me stay strategic and focus on those things that I’m best at doing.  Here are three steps to take when the tyranny of the day starts to get to you.

Go back to basics.  Know what you need to accomplish on a strategic level.  This is the time to hit the pause button and think big picture.  

Cater to your strengths.  Figure out where you can apply your strengths to stay strategic and then delegate when you can so that you remain focused on what you’re good at.

Create a plan.  Map out what you need to do annually, quarterly, monthly.  Use the trusty to-do list to focus on the weekly items you need to accomplish and then be accountable with a daily check-in.

Ask yourself at the end of the day,

“Did I move my need to accomplish list forward and if I didn’t, what can I do tomorrow?”

This process really helps me pull myself out of those days when it feels like the list is in control.  It brings me back to the strategic goals and a place where I feel accomplished and see better results.  Most importantly, it plays to my strengths.  We all love doing what we’re good at, so naturally, that’s where we’re most productive. 

In order for my system to work for you, you need to know your strategy and have insight into your strengths.  We help our clients with both of these areas.  Do a strength finder assessment to identify where you should be spending your time.  And then start taking back your day!

That’s my system.  Join me on LinkedIn and share your tips for combating the Tyranny of the Day. Here’s a simple online strength finder test to get you started.

– Pam

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