Welcome! Today I’ve got a devotion running on Encouragement for Today about having an Overloaded Life. If you are visiting after reading my devotion, I’m so glad you stopped by. At the end of the devotion, I promised two things. The first is how I set up a project management system for myself. And the second is a Clutter-free Challenge I’ll be doing in January. So, first things first: the project management system.
For years I tried to manage all my responsibilities on one to-do list. I tried to prioritize that to-do list using various methods, all without success. It was just too much to put on one sheet of paper. Overwhelming in fact.
It was like trying to squeeze my size 9 feet into cute little size 6 shoes. It wasn’t happening.
I also never had an accurate view of all my responsibilities with one to-do list, and so kept piling more on to an overloaded schedule.
Instead of forcing my three-dimension life onto a one-dimension sheet of paper, I had to create my own project management approach. I finally figured out how to capture all the stuff that caused an underlying stress: A master list of projects and a short list of tasks.
A project is anything that will take two or more steps. A second list will be your task (or to-do) list. These are items that only take one step. You might choose to group like items here, such as errands, phone calls or writing assignments.
If you’ve never done an assessment of all your responsibilities, perhaps now is the time to do just that. Before you can create two lists, you need to have one master brain dump. So get a sheet of paper and list everything you need to attend to. This could be ongoing responsibilities, one-time projects, things you’ve put off, and things that you need to do in the next few months. Get it all out of your head and on to paper.
Don’t be surprised if this takes you days to complete. Keep this list visible so you can add to it as you remember things.
Once you’ve got this list, you may want to edit some things out of your schedule. That’s a matter of prayer, wise counsel and fulfilling obligations over time. But let’s set that aside for now and go back to the master list and a project management approach.
I have a small three-ring binder that holds lists all my projects. I have one sheet that’s an overview of everything. Then, some of my projects also get their own sheet depending on their complexity. For example, I’m the director of the writing track at She Speaks. I need some place to keep all my notes about that project, so it has its own page.
Once a week, I review my project list. I consider priorities and deadlines, and identify what tasks need to be done to move the projects forward. Those tasks get transfered to my to-do list for the week.
Of course, there are always one-step tasks that just get added to my to-do list. But if I can’t get them done that week, they get put on my project sheet so I don’t forget them. This approach helps me manage the large amount of projects I’m balancing at any given time.
I hope this makes sense. If it doesn’t please ask a question. This approach has made all the difference in how well I manage my life. There’s nothing like seeing all my projects in one place to really open my eyes about how overloaded my life can get.
Now, changing topics. You probably know I’ve written a book called “I Used to Be So Organized.” The basis of any type of organizing is purging unnecessary items. After all, why spend any time organizing stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place? So I decided perhaps it would be best to focus on eliminating clutter. So beginning January 9th, I’ll be hosting a 15-day Clutter-Free Challenge on my blog. Each Monday through Friday for three weeks, I’ll offer tips on how to clear out the extra stuff in our lives.
If you’d like to lighten the clutter in your thoughts, schedule and home, please sign up today to receive my posts. You aren’t obligated to get my posts forever, and can unsubscribe after the 15 days are over. I promise my feelings won’t be hurt. 🙂
Thank you for joining me today. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic of managing an overloaded life, tips for managing a to-do list, or just your favorite time management tip.
Grace & Peace,