Modern life is a hectic affair and for all the benefits that technology brings, it also tends to make us permanently available and at the mercy of other people’s to-do lists.
I’m not saying that none of the incoming requests you receive are important, but most of those incoming calls / messages / emails will be much more important to the person sending them than to you.
I get how satisfying it can feel to complete things on a timely basis and to tick things off the list. Particularly as you see the notifications piling up on your phone! But typically the to-do list is focused more on life and work admin, than the things that truly matter to us. Andy by tending to the seemingly urgent, we often run out of time, or neglect, the crucially important.
So how do you start to tackle this?
- Make a list of your priorities and what’s important to you – either generally or on a weekly basis.
- Consider the merits of scheduling specific time in your diary to deal with the related tasks.
- When new tasks or requests appear, ask yourself if they truly align with those priorities or if they really are urgent (an email or ringing phone rarely is). If they do/are, then great, go ahead. And if not, feel well within your rights to delay or refuse them. There is real power in saying no!
- Notice that if pushing back or ignoring them makes you anxious, that’s a feeling inside of you that perhaps you need to sit with and explore.
- Consider turning technology to your advantage with apps like Streak, which are designed to help support new habit formation.
- And equally, consider embarking on some form of digital detox to reduce the noise around you.
It’s not an easy thing to do, but the more you focus on it, the more effective you become at prioritising what’s truly important. And the impact on your life and happiness will be well worth it!