We were so impressed with Rebekah Westover’s tips on how she manages her daily routine with time to spare that we asked her to share more details with us and our readers as we focus this month on Spring cleaning to a better YOU!
Tales from a recovering mulitasker…
I am a wedding photographer, and on any given day let me tell you what needs to be done around here:
Shooting, emailing, album designing, print orders, emailing some more, blogging, social media, editing, editing, editing, and some more editing, client calls, consultations, web design, organizing shoots……To say that it can be overwhelming is an understatement. In fact at times, it is all-consuming and I find my stress levels through the roof. But this year I have found a bit of peace. And it all started with my ideas of “multitasking” being challenged.
I used to think I was the world’s best multitasker. I could dance, read a book, edit photos, eat lunch, peruse Facebook, and talk on my phone all at the same time. Then I had a wakeup call. I took a test developed by the University of Utah that measures humans ability to multitask successfully. The results seemed to suggest that I was NOT good at multitasking. In fact I was quite terrible at it. What’s more, is that the study has found that 97% of people are NOT GOOD at multitasking. Which means that only 3% of us are actually good at it. In addition, the very WORST multitaskers are the ones who think they are GOOD at it. More details here…
This was a huge wake up call for me. After taking this test I took a good long look at how my typical work day went. I had a “to do” list a mile long. Everyday, I would look at that long list and sigh, get overwhelmed, and feel defeated before the day even began. I would chip away each day at dozens of things I had to get done. But chipping away little by little NEVER got anything officially completed. And my list grew and grew and grew. And I became more overwhelmed.
This got me to thinking…..what if I stopped trying to do so many things in one day? Could I still get EVERYTHING I needed to get done?? What if I set certain tasks for each day and focused ONLY on those tasks. What if I ignored all the other tasks on my to-do list, and just did them on another scheduled day?? Could this work?
I set to work to make a new schedule of how things would run at work. I listed the top things that needed to be done in a week and then gave those things a specific day to be done. So instead of having a mile long to-do list, I now have a to-do list for each day ONLY. So on Monday, I only have two tasks I need to do that day. On Tuesday, I have 3 tasks that need to be done that day. And so on and so forth. My work day does not end until the specified tasks are completed. This motivates me to stay focused, GET THEM DONE, and to not switch to doing something else before the task is completed. And the best part….once my tasks are done, then I am DONE for the day. No more “oohhh, just answer a few more emails….ooohhh, let me just edit a few photos from that wedding….”
I’ve followed this system for a couple of months now and I have found that
1- I am caught up…even ahead of schedule on editing
2- I have way more free time
3- My brain does not feel overwhelmed with the amount of things I have to do in one day
4- I feel more organized and less stressed
5-I am more efficient and many things I need to get done actually DO get done
6- My work days are much shorter, yet I am accomplishing more things.
If you are a multitasker, and you feel overwhelmed maybe its time to reconsider your approach to getting things done. Focus on getting less tasks done each day. Don’t look at what you have to get done in ONE WEEK, look at what you have to get done on that day only. Then get it done before you move on to something else:) This approach has worked so well for me and I am happy to share it with as many women as I can because we all have SO MUCH on our plates. We are notorious for multitasking, and while originally we have thought we are good at this, research is suggesting that we are not!
Thank you Rebekah…we are giving ourselves a challenge to try this method for a month and see how much more organized and better we feel….we challenge all of you as well to try it…we will be asking how its going periodically through out this month. Happy spring cleaning your daily life to a better you! xo