We are well and truly into back-to-school season now! For those of you who have kids back at school, I sympathize with your stress – it’s hard enough to get kids back in the groove of the school year, let alone making those adjustments in your own life. And for those of you who don’t have school-age kids, I know that your fall might still feel chaotic as we ramp up toward the end of the year. It seems like everyone is looking for time management strategies right now.

As someone who studies overwhelm and procrastination, I can tell you that this time of year can really trigger both. Having a lot on your plate, both personally and professionally, can do a number on your ability to focus. That’s when that inner voice starts in with its criticism. You’ve heard that voice, right? Most of us have, although it says different things to all of us. “You can’t do this.” “You’ll never get this done.” “There’s no point in even trying to get on top of all of this.”

That cycle of negative inner talk makes us feel frozen, and that’s what leads to procrastination. If you’re staring down a mountain of tasks, isn’t it easier to just walk away and go check Facebook than to create a time management plan? Maybe in the short term, but procrastinating ultimately only makes things worse. During hectic periods – like fall! – those feelings of overwhelm can become really debilitating. 

Does this sound like you? Are you feeling discouraged? Don’t! This stuff is so normal, and I can help you jumpstart your productivity with one of my favorite simple time management strategies.

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to write down all the things that are overwhelming you, every task on your to-do list. Next I want you to think about your three biggest priorities or goals in life. (Some people prefer to think in terms of goals, others in terms of priorities. Whichever works for you!) Write down those three things.

Now compare those lists. On your overwhelm list, find the tasks that are related to you accomplishing those goals or protecting those priorities. Those are the tasks I want you to focus on first.

“But what about answering that email/picking up the dry cleaning/editing that report?” you might think. Those things do have to get done too, but they’re not as important as the tasks that directly relate to your top three priorities. Delay them for now.

Now, I know that a lot of the things on that overwhelm list might relate to those priorities, so you still might have a bunch of tasks to tackle. But your to-do list should be a lot shorter and more focused now – and because everything there is tied to you accomplishing your most critical goals, these should be your most meaningful tasks. 

I know this sounds simple, but this exercise is so effective when you need to create a time management plan. It’s also just one of the five steps I shared in my recent webinar, “Back to School Without Freaking Out: Simple Tools for Peaceful Productivity.” If you weren’t able to join this time, keep an eye out for my next free session.  

If you’re ready to successfully manage your time and your tasks in a way that works for you and get’s you to the next level in your life and business, then apply for a Time Matters Success Strategy Session, I have a 9 spots held open between now and the end of September, just for those of you who read my blog.  

Here’s the catch: You need to qualify! To make sure we’re on track and ready to make the biggest impact together, here are a few things that are important:

1. You’re clear that you want to be more productive, get more done and focus on things that are truly important to you.

2. You’re coachable and ready to make changes. 

3. You’re able to make decisions about your next steps.

4. You are ready to get real about what your time challenges are costing you.

If those 4 statements describe you, click the link here and apply by answering a few questions. Once you fill out the application, we’ll get back to you to schedule if you qualify.  Looking forward to speaking with you soon!

Apply for your free strategy session today

Sarah Reiff-Hekking