Have you ever felt like the world is falling around you? You don’t know why. For the past few weeks, I’ve felt this way. If productivity were a currency, it would leave me in deep debt. Every day I wake up with a list of tasks in my head and a pile of empty boxes on my desk. I became so overwhelmed along the way that I stopped trying.
I’m normally quite productive, so I spent the last few days trying to find out why I was running off the battlefield in panic. It could be anything from a cold I’m fighting, changing weather, too many distractions, or interruptions, but it really boils down to discipline. I pride myself on being disciplined. I’ve never been one to procrastinate and find it easy to stay productive and busy without supervision. Over the past few weeks, this all changed. I was not following my number one rule, “Take each step one at the moment.” This led to me being unorganized. I forgot this and got so bogged down that I couldn’t think straight.
One of the best things about discipline is that once one rule is broken, all the rules follow quickly. It’s like a deadly rock slide caused by one strategically placed stone. The entire mountain can be lowered once the foundation has been destroyed. Because I was stressed, it was difficult to sleep well at night. This caused me to have a chaotic day, which led to a combination of drowsiness, a poor attitude, and a panicked disposition. It was not pretty.
Although I am now able to shake off my slump, it takes me a lot longer to get back on track so that I can be productive again. As I investigated the root cause of my strange behavior, I realized that there were a few simple things I could have done to prevent my temporary lapse in productivity.
Take it one step at a time.
It is easy to lose sight of the fact that there are too many things to do, as I have already said. As a small business owner, it is difficult to be able to do everything at once. Focusing on one thing at a given time is the key to staying calm.
Time management is key to focusing on just one activity at a given time. You should create a schedule to define when and where each hat will be worn. You would be ridiculed if you tried to wear multiple hats in public. It’s the same metaphorically. Multitasking is a way to not perform at your peak. You must give each task the time and attention it deserves before you can move on to the next task.
Keep a routine
Finally, being consistent and purposeful in your daily life is the only way to master time management. You must stick to your plan once you have created your to-do list. Planning only works when you follow it. It’s easy to forget about our plans and excuse ourselves from the task by claiming that something happened unexpectedly or that we were in an emergency. Most “emergencies,” except if your building is on fire, can be put off until they are resolved. Consistent routines help us stay focused and productive. However, if we just go with the flow of the day, we’ll end up losing our way more often.
Mark Zarr, a professor of Business, is the founder of Rent Your MBA Consulting and the author of “Common Sense Business” & “Testimony: What Our Stories Do to Get in the Way Of God’s Grace.”
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