1. Set goals. You need to know what you’re trying to accomplish in a global sense (raise a great family), as well as in a more immediate sense (get the kids out the door on time).
2. Make sure the tasks match the goals. Every day, I review our tasks and see how they fit with our short- and long-term goals. We all have more to do than we could ever accomplish, so this review process is a quick way to figure out what makes it on the “Do” list.
3. Write it down. I write it down. Everything. Even if I don’t look at the list again, the very act of writing it all down helps cement it in my brain.
4. Batch your actions. Do like things at the same time. Set a day for errands, a day for laundry, a day for cleaning. Then you’re not jumping from task to task and repeating yourself.
5. Create systems. When you repeat a task over and over again — like grocery shopping or doing the laundry — create a system for it. Write it down.
6. Ask for help. Enlist the help of family, kids, and friends (if the only thing you need from Costco is a pack of napkins, ask your girlfriend to pick them up when she’s making her weekly run). When you have a written system (see #5), it’s easy to delegate.
7. Allow imperfection. When you ask kids to help out (or spouses, for that matter!), things aren’t going to get done the way you would do them. That’s okay. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good!
8. Go easy on yourself. Life is hard. Stuff happens. Some things you can control, some things you can’t. Sometimes you can adjust. Sometimes you can’t. Be nice to yourself! Beating yourself up won’t make you any more productive.
9. Adjust. If things aren’t working, make changes. Try something new. Keep adjusting.
10. Make time for fun. Life isn’t all about schedules and lists. Take time — even if you have to schedule it in — for fun.
….and a bonus tip!
Check out this new free app for iPhones/iTouch, Intuition.