How To Master Stress Free Productivity, Overcome Procrastination, Reach Your Targets And Grow More Effective – Quickly, Easily, Effortlessly
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
(The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, leaving us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!)
Most time management plans go off the rails because they remain as just concepts and dreams. You must translate them into getting things done. Otherwise you will never enjoy the riches and benefits that come from optimally using the abundance of time available to all of us – to get every important task done.
Hand in hand with your focus on getting things done should come the realization that nobody can tackle everything that’s necessary all by ourselves. We need help. We need to hand over some tasks. We must delegate.
Delegation is simple and easy – but hard to learn initially. At the heart of this difficulty lies our own unwillingness to let go. The Tao way of managing time makes it easier to release our ownership of tasks, and allow responsibility for taking action devolve naturally to those most capable of handling them.
So, at this point, you have set the right goals by learning what matters most – to you. You have understood the order of things, and mastered the way to prioritize items on your day planner. All that’s left is to get things done. That’s what we’ll focus on next.
Ambiguity creates confusion. It leads to delays. It wastes precious time. So you must get very specific.
Each morning when you begin work, you must know precisely what targets you are aiming to reach before the day ends. Because you already have the ‘big picture’ clearly in mind, these tasks and activities will naturally be aligned with it. This way, you will always be working on important things.
Draw Up Your Schedule
This is pretty standard time management advice. What’s different with the Tao style of doing it is how you avoid the temptation to over-schedule. You only pick items that match your goals, that align with your bigger targets, that can be comfortably fitted into your day… and ignore all the rest!
Decide Your Order
As you understand the order of things, you’ll find it easy to slot each activity on your day planner into the appropriate order – which allows you to get it done without stress or worry about being able to complete your list. You’ll learn about the different systems and tools available to help with getting things done in the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides.
Procrastination is a common enemy that time managers must conquer for getting things done. The reason you tend to put things off is because you don’t always clearly see how it fits your purpose, and so you don’t feel a keen desire to get things done.
The solution is to ask yourself if the task you’re delaying really matters – and if it does, reminding yourself about the purpose served by getting it done. That should kickstart your efforts and help you beat procrastination.
Guard Against Overload
The stress attached to conventional time management is often linked to having too much on your list of things to do. You get overwhelmed. You struggle to find your balance. You waste time trying to prioritize.
With the Taoist approach, you sidestep the issue completely. Focus on a single task, ignoring the others – until you get it done. Then move to the next. Because every task on your list is important, you aren’t wasting any time at all.
Interruptions are unavoidable. The key is to keep them from upsetting you or derailing your schedule. While external measures like locking your door, turning off the phone, or having an assistant screen callers may work to an extent, they kill spontaneity and lower your enjoyment.
The Taoist approach is to get your thoughts and flow back quickly after any interruption, so that you weave these random, fun events into the overall fabric of your important work… without sacrificing either.
Traditional training about delegation is to hand over tasks to the person(s) best capable to handle them. Sometimes, though, this approach can leave you unhappy or even angry.
Because, apart from skill and expertise, there’s a ‘fun factor’ at play – and for that reason, you might want to personally handle a task that’s more efficient to hand over to someone else. Time Taoists listen to their heart to decide whether or not to take on extra responsibilities. This avoids over-commitment, and ensures that you are working only on things you enjoy most.
Over-commitment is another pitfall to steer clear of. Learn to say ‘No’ more often. It becomes easier once you clearly visualize your biggest goals, and can see whether or not a particular job, project or activity will lead you closer to it – or not.
Achieve Balance and Harmony
Where the Taoist style scores over all other approaches to getting things done is in achieving harmony through adjusting to others.
Even as you are working on your highest priorities, you are avoiding over-loading your plate with other people’s demands and requests. This avoids stress, doesn’t let down people who depend on you, and conditions others to not dump extra work upon you. This leads to greater balance and more harmony in your relationships with colleagues, co-workers, family and friends.
Mastering Time Management Tao
The three core tenets of Time Management Tao are simple, even embarrassingly so. All you have to do is:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
We have broadly discussed each of these elements. But you probably want more detail. Maybe you’d like a road map or a blueprint that outlines each approach in greater depth.
That’s the reason why we have published a series of guides under the Ming Vase Time Management label. You’ll find short, focused reports and ebooklets that guide you through the nuances and finer points of each of these 3 concepts.
And if you sign up to our free weekly “Time Taozine” email newsletter by filling in the registration form below, you’ll receive more tips and secrets for managing your time better, getting things done and delegating tasks intelligently.