Jessica glanced at the clock again and grunted in frustration. In just 15 minutes, she would have to leave to pick up her daughter from pre-school, and those precious few hours of freedom would be over.
Yet again, she had run around all morning, but hadn’t finished any of the tasks on her list. It shouldn’t be this hard! Dishes, laundry, answering the mail… this stuff should be easy!
How is it possible to work so much and accomplish so little?
She felt that familiar pang of guilt. The whole reason for spending the extra money on pre-school five days a week, was to make it easier to get stuff done. Granted, she also had an infant son to take care of, but with her daughter gone for three solid hours every morning, she should be able to finish more than this.
Almost every client I’ve worked with has experienced this same frustration in some way.
What makes these simple tasks so difficult?
For starters, most women are constant worriers. Add to that our distractibility and our tendency to multi-task, and the result is inefficiency.
You go to wash the dishes. But you realize that if you want the laundry to be in the dryer before you leave, you have to start the washer now.
So, you leave the dishes to start the laundry. Then you remember there’s a bill on the desk that absolutely must be paid today.
While you’re searching for the bill in your stack of mail, you see the sticky-note from last week reminding you to schedule the oil change.
And did I mention you were one the phone this whole time?
We’ve all been there. We might be working hard, but we aren’t working efficiently.
When half our brainpower is worrying about we are not doing, wondering if we will have time to get to those jobs, and trying to decide whether we should switch tasks, it makes us work slower. And every time we do switch to a new task, we leave the last task unfinished.
The biggest drain on our energy is deciding what to do.
That is why when Jessica consulted me for help, I gave her one clear guideline: Assign each day of the week a specific job.
We called it “The Focus and Finish Plan.”
Mondays are for paperwork, emails, and phone calls. Nothing. Else.
While she focused exclusively on answering the mail, she didn’t worry about how dirty the floors were, because house-cleaning was Tuesday’s job.
While she vacuumed and mopped, she wasn’t worried about the over-due oil change because errands and appointments were Wednesday’s job.
While she drove all over town on Wednesday, she wasn’t worried about the laundry piling up because that was Thursday’s job.
Taking the decision-making process out of the equation gave her the freedom to finish.
I’ll never forget the Monday morning that Jessica called me and said, “Trish, I’ve finished all the paperwork and phone calls and I still have an hour left, what should I do?” I told her to celebrate! Do whatever you’ve been wishing you had the time to do!
If you have ever felt like Jessica, frustrated by working so much and accomplishing so little, then you will love creating your own Focus and Finish Plan!
Scroll down to download your FREE TEMPLATE.
Print a few copies of the template, assign a specific job for each day, and force yourself to focus only on those tasks.