How To Turn “Meaning To” Into “Done”

Time Management Reminder“I’ve been meaning to get to that!”

Have you uttered that phrase recently? When we say this, it’s usually our way of saying, “Hey, look, I know that what you’re asking of me is important, and it’s been on my mind frequently, I just haven’t made it a priority yet.” The next time a task you’ve been meaning to do is on your mind, ask yourself the following three questions to turn meaning to into done.

1. Can I do it now?

When an important task is on your mind, it’s easy to say, “I’ll do it later” but what is stopping you from doing it right now? Is there a reason you can’t pick up the phone right now and make that call? Or type up that document? Or send that email? You might not feel like doing it now, but will you feel any more like doing it 24 hours from now? Instead of thinking about how long it will take, or how much you wish you didn’t have to do it, focus on how good it will feel to not have this task tugging at your mind anymore.

2. If not now, when?

Sometimes, we think of important tasks when we’re in the middle of something else and it would be distracting and counterproductive to drop what we’re doing and switch gears. In this case, instead of saying “later,” pull out your calendar and commit to “when.” Even if it’s a tiny task that doesn’t seem like it deserves it’s own place in your agenda, add it anyway. It’s much harder to put something off when you’ve validated its importance with a spot in your calendar.

3. If not when, ever?

If you’re still having trouble making this task a priority, is it really necessary? Remember, we make time for the things that are important to us. If you can’t make time, perhaps it’s because what you thought was important is really just something you wish was important or should be important. Either acknowledge it as something you value and start making the time, or accept that it’s something you can live without, and let it go.

Last week, I joined Toastmasters. I’ve been meaning to do it for the past year or so and just haven’t. I finally decided it was important, so I found a club, put it on my calendar, went to the meeting, and loved it. What have you been “meaning to do” this month? What are you waiting for?

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Making Time for Gratitude

Few things kick start our motivation quite like receiving acknowledgement of a job well done. However, it’s easy to get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to express our gratitude to others. Try these simple strategies to make time to say “thanks” on a more regular basis.

1. Make it Simple

Saying “Thank You” doesn’t have to be an overly complex or lengthy task. It does not require a page-long note or expensive gesture of flowers. It’s too easy to let expressing gratitude sit at the bottom of our to-do list when we build it up to be a monumental act. Instead, make it short and simple with a quick email. If you prefer to use a hand-written note, keep a stack of inexpensive note cards in your desk drawer so you won’t have to buy or go searching for one.

2. Make it Immediate

How often have you thought to yourself, “Wow, I really appreciate <insert person>’s work. I should really thank her…tomorrow.” While it’s never too late to express your thanks, it’s easiest and most effective when it’s fresh on your mind. Remember the 5 Minute Rule? If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now. This applies to taking 30 seconds out of your day to let someone know they are appreciated.

3. Make it Regular

When a task is a habit, you don’t have to think about it and you’re more likely to actually make it a part of your day. One of my bosses had “Thank You Thursday” where she made a point to express her appreciation to a different person every Thursday morning. Now, the alliteration in that concept might be more than you can bear, but you get the point. If you can make saying “thanks” just another part of the task, rather than a task on to itself, you’ll find yourself doing it much more often.

Thank you, readers, for making The Time Diet part of your weekly routine. When I first started this business two years ago, I could have never imagined how much it would grow and evolve and that is all thanks to you. You pass along the blogs that speak to you, give me feedback, and refer me to organizations that could use my workshops. I deeply appreciate all of your support!

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