Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. You’ve sat down and made a list of everything you want to accomplish in your day. Everything that was in your head is now on a sheet of paper or in a spreadsheet. Once you’ve written it all down, you spend some time thinking about how much of your day you should allot to each task. Fifteen minutes sounds like more than enough – you’re going to get so much done today!

Fast forward one hour. You’re still on the first task on your list.

Client calls, interruptions, and waiting for other people to get back to you has fully thrown you off course. It starts to dawn on you that you may not get everything completed today after all. That’s when the fear creeps in. How do you pick what tasks can get done today? How will you possibly fit those unfinished tasks into your schedule tomorrow? You look at the time – how is it possibly lunch time already?!

You got lost in the to do list fog.

When you overtask your to do list, nothing is going to work the way you hoped. And it has more consequences than just remaining tasks on your list. Communication with yourself and others will suffer. You may feel short tempered with those around you. You may feel rushed while you try desperately to get one more thing done. 

It’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to business and life than crossing things off a list. Don’t let your short term task list negatively impact the long term goals you’re working toward. 

So, how do you successfully manage this conundrum?

Set real, achievable expectations for your day. Allow enough time in your schedule to flex and move things around when opportunities or challenges arise. Don’t let your task list take over your entire bandwidth – you need to give yourself permission to look at the list as fluid and changeable. And remember: zero flex = zero success.

Have you been disappointed or overwhelmed by your task list? Let’s set up a time to talk about managing expectations and leaving some flex in your schedule.

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