Are you busy? That is a silly question, right? Of course, you are busy; we are all busy! You may be feeling even a bit overwhelmed. It used to be when we greeted someone you would say “hey, how are you doing?” The answer would be “good, great, how are you?” Now the response is “good, really really busy, but good!” It seems like with all the technological advances, all the gadgets that we carry around, and all the apps that are supposed to help make our lives so much easier, with all of that we are still overwhelmed with things to do. How do we fix this? We start by getting ourselves a little bit more organized.

Make a list. There are a lot of common characteristics in the most successful people and one of them is that they write their To Do List down. Making a list is a great first step because it gets all of those To Do out of your head. It is important to get them into writing. When you write out your list of To Do’s, they are much more likely to happen. In fact, we see this every week with our clients at Retail Level Up. The clients who write things down and make their lists are way more successful than the clients who just keep on mental checklist.  So, first and foremost: make a list.

Prioritize. Not everything on your To Do List is of equal importance. You have to set some clear priorities. What is the most important use of your time right now? What are the most important things that have to happen today? What things need to happen tomorrow? What things need to happen in the future? Once you have prioritized your lists, put the future list away where you can’t see it. Have it be accessible, but you don’t need to look at it all the time because that can really overwhelm you. Focus on your list for today. Work on the items of highest priority first, not the easy stuff!

One Thing at a Time. Stop talking about how busy you are! Stop talking about all the things that are on your To Do List! Pay attention to what you are telling yourself and what you are telling other people.  If you keep talking about how busy you are, you will likely feel overwhelmed, so slow down. You literally cannot do more than one thing at a time effectively, so focus on one thing at a time.

Plan. Another common characteristic of the most successful people is that they schedule time for themselves to think. Now that might seem a little weird, but it is actually really effective. Schedule time to think, to plan, to strategize. This gives you an opportunity to prepare. The best time to prepare for next week is this week. Plan out the coming week before you get to that week. Plan out next month, next year. Take time to plan.

Break Down Big Goals Into Smaller Steps. Some of the things we procrastinate on the most are those big giant goals and projects that just are so big that you cannot even begin to think about how you are going to do it. There is that saying: how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It is kind of like that. Big goals, big tasks and hard work is really just an accumulation of smaller little steps. Hard work is an accumulation of little tiny steps that you didn’t do when you should have done them. Take those big goals and break them down into actionable steps. In fact think about this: if one year ago you had committed to doing one small thing every day that would help move you closer to a big goal that you have, what would your life be like today if you had done that one year ago? Just taking those big action steps, those big goals and breaking them down into smaller pieces makes it much easier to take action and get things done.

Follow these simple steps and you will be much more efficient and productive in your day.

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