This is a guest post by Michael Roberts
Avoid the Dreaded Pile-Up of Responsibilities
How to keep up with your responsibilities through short bursts of work during the week.
Here’s the scenario:
You’ve just completed a long day at work, and all you want to do when you get home is plop down in front of the TV. You walk in the door, and you see that your sink is full of dishes, your desk is covered with bills, and your dirty laundry is piling up into a decent reproduction of Kilimanjaro.
Say goodbye to relaxing.
When you’re so far behind, where do you even start? With one task at a time.
Too often, we jump into whichever task seems most pressing at the moment. You may start on the dishes and get a few done before you start eying that stack of bills and wondering if you’re behind on your credit card payments. Then, before you can even find your statement, you’re wondering if your work clothes for tomorrow are clean. On to the next task, and you haven’t actually accomplished anything.
We need to focus on a very important idea that will help us keep up with all of our personal responsibilities. This applies to far more than housework and paying the bills:
Finish the Task You’ve Started before Moving On.
Multitasking was all the rage just a few short years ago, but new studies are showing that we’re not being more productive by trying to accomplish several tasks at once. Multitaskers actually perform each of the several tasks worse than those who chose to focus on a single task.
Busyness and productivity are not the same things. Let’s focus on getting this stuff done so we can move on to the more enjoyable aspects of life.
Timed Work and Rest Periods
One very popular time management technique is called the Pomodoro Technique, and its premise is very simple. Rather than working nonstop until all of your tasks are accomplished, break the work into smaller time periods interspersed with rest. The Pomodoro Technique uses increments of 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute rest period. After several repetitions of the cycle, participants are then encouraged to take a full 30 minutes for a break.
The 25-minute period only allows focused work on one task. For that entire time, you can’t stop to check your messages or Facebook friends. It may not be fun at first, but you’ll certainly be happier once you see how much more you’re accomplishing.
Avoid the Pile-Up in the Future
Once you’ve caught up once, you can prevent pile-ups from happening most of the time. Life happens, and you’ll get behind every once in a great while, but planning can help you avoid the stress that can come from the dreaded pile of responsibilities.
You can approach your scheduling simply with a plain list or calendar. Write out all of your regular responsibilities and make them a regular part of your schedule so that you don’t forget.
Are you more of a tech person? There are tons of apps out there that can help you manage your day to day. Between Google Calendar and Evernote, I can pretty much keep up with all of my most important tasks right on my phone and my computer, but there is an endless variety of options out there.
Whichever method you use to keep up with your schedule, be sure to stay flexible. On some days, you will feel too tired to knock out the finances or to mow the yard. Just bump those tasks back a day or two and get some rest. The point is not to pile more burdens on yourself but to help you accomplish your most important tasks instead of letting them overwhelm you again. By breaking the work down into small, manageable tasks, you’ll have more time for the things that matter most in your life.
How Do You Manage?
Do you have a favorite tool or method that helps you keep up with the day to day? Be sure to let everyone know in the comment section below.
About Michael Roberts
Michael tries to finish up his responsibilities in a timely manner so that he can focus more on the areas of life he values most: his family, the artistic community, and his own creative projects. His goal is to help remove barriers for other aspiring artists to complete their artistic projects by getting rid of the excuses and focusing on the work of creating. Whether writing or playing music, Michael strives to be productive and to have plenty of fun along the way. Visit ReviveYourCreativity.com/The-Ebook/ for a free downloadable ebook to help you be productive in your creative pursuits.