Is Over Committing Killing Your Career?

I schedule five things to do each day. This habit is one I have used for years but got away from for a period of time as I was adjusting to computer-based scheduling.

I imagine most people who read this article are already using some type of electronic calendar. As we all know too well, these calendars are easy to use and have convenient scheduling features:

  • Things to do today
  • Things to do tomorrow or later
  • Recurring things to do

These calendars can also be shared and other people can, if we choose to allow them, add things for us to do on our own calendar.

IT IS EASY TO OVER COMMIT.
I have my calendar connected to a contact manager, so I can schedule activities right out of my database.

When I first began to use a calendar on my computer, I found that the new calendar worked about as well as the desktop paper calendar I had been using. Over time, however, I found that the calendar had so many things on it that it was almost worthless.

The things which I scheduled for today but did not accomplish would often just roll over into the next day. Eventually the things I had not got to would roll over into the future dated things to do. Included in future-dated items were recurring activities. As I scheduled more recurring things, I would think of recurring things to schedule. Then I had to add today’s activities to yesterday’s activities, yesterday’s and today’s future activities, and recurring activities on a task list that I honestly just quick checking. Just clearing the activities was a lot of work.

So I have simplified the process. I schedule my days the last hour of each day. If I already have five things scheduled from tasks I did not complete each day or from future-dated and recurring activities, I pick the ones that I will actually get done and delete the rest. I add additional activities that are important enough to be in my top five priorities for tomorrow and schedule those five things.

Am I only doing five things a day? Of course, I am doing much more. I will have a myriad of new things come in from professional networks, calls, and emails. I will be swamped. My schedule, however, is for the five things I consider priorities that I want to ensure that I accomplish.

Life is easy. I stick to my schedule of five things to do each do and get them done.

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