Time Management Tip #2: Be Realistic

It’s time to put down the cape. It’s also time be honest. Is that ‘to do’ list really doable?

There are still only 24 hours in a day and the majority of our problems with time management involve unrealistic expectations. When you have a daily 20 or 30+ list of items that must be accomplished, you are setting yourself up for failure. The same goes for a list of three time consuming items.

There are three quick ways to tell if your list of action items is too long:

1. Carry over. If you are still finishing Monday’s list on Friday, you’ve got a problem.

2. If  you never feel finished, you might have a problem.

3. If you are always in catch-up, grumpy mode, you might have a problem.

So now that the problem has been identified, how do you fix it?

Set Goals.

What are you four main goals? You can go micro: four main goals for work, four main goals for family, etc. or you can go macro: four main life goals. Let’s look at Busy Bea’s goals:

Spend more time with family, land more feature articles, work-out more, have more free time.

Before Bea can get the “mores” she wants, she has to check off the items on her list that do not align with her goals. Reducing her email time gives her more time to put into her queries.

See? Not so bad!

Revisit your goals frequently.

When the list gets long, that’s when you have to stop and check your to-do items against your goals. I still have 20+ item days. Still. As recent as last week. That’s why Monday I had a conversation with myself, pulled out my goals list and started crossing things of my to-do’s that didn’t help me reach my goals.

Time management is tough. Each day we struggle to stay focused and to prioritize, but being realistic, setting goals and following them helps. So take off the cape – no need to be Superwriter anywhere but in your prose.

How do you manage your list?


  1. says

    I have this problem as well… biting off way too much for the day, which then often results in not getting as much done as if I would’ve just set the 3 most important tasks to get done for the day. I think a big aspect of setting realistic goals is being patient in growing your business and sticking with the daily tasks that need to be done even though they might not be all that fun.
    Ryan´s last blog post ..Washington Heights Neighborhood


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