Don’t start singing the, “I’ve got a lot of work to do” blues!

I love what I do!

For my “day” job … I am a merchandise coordinator at our local department store.  I totally love it!  I get to flow all new merchandise out onto the floor virtually every day and then arrange it and make it eye-catching and shoppable out on the sales floor.  We get lots of really cool stuff which makes it a lot of fun … kind of like opening presents on Christmas morning!

As great as my job is … it’s usually also VERY hectic.  We have to flow out as much merchandise as we can before the store opens.  That way, we are available to help the customers and do recovery in each of our departments during our open hours.  Of course, things don’t always run smoothly and then there is usually a boss hanging about telling us to “step-it-up” or “there’s a LOT of work that needs to be done … we need to pick up the pace.”

weightlifting-521470__180[1]Now, all of us KNOW by now that we are on a time-crunch to get everything out and we usually go about flowing the merchandise as fast as we can.  However, once that (we’ve got a lot of work to do) phrase is uttered, there’s like this massive weight that comes down hindering our previous progress.  Hardly ANYTHING goes smoothly after that.

Not a good idea in the workplace OR … in the home!

Which got me to thinking … how many times have I said this EXACT same thing to myself at home (usually on a rare day off).  I then realized that I say it quite often when I’ve got a lot of housework to get done.  But guess what?  At the end of the day, usually not even a third of my To-Do list got done.  Usually the problem was that I felt such tiredness and dread throughout the day because instead of celebrating my accomplishments up to that point, I fixated on what all still needed done.

Make a “Before” and “After” list!

So the next time you find yourself falling for the “I’ve got a lot of work to do” trap, just take some time to jot down what you DID get accomplished that day.  How does it compare to your To-Do list?  Were the things on the second (actual) list unavoidable or were you somewhat mindlessly sidetracked?  Sometimes our lists just don’t get done because we start adding things in that aren’t on our original list.  The reason for this could be any number of things:

  • Kids = If you’ve got kids, you’ll most likely DEFINITELY have unavoidable delays in your daily To-Do’s.
  • Absentmindedly sidetracked = an example of this would be cleaning out a desk drawer and finding magazines, pictures, letters or other memorabilia that you start reading and looking through for “just a few minutes.”  After all, you’ve been working hard … it’s time for a break, right?  Until an hour later when you are still looking through everything in that drawer and now have lost all your “get-up-and-go” spirit.
  • Perfectionism = Yep … perfectionism could DEFINITELY classify as a time stealer.  Case in point … when I am flowing merchandise out onto the sales floor at work … I KNOW I am supposed to flow the merchandise as quickly as possible and then come back later to fix it up and make it look shoppable and pretty … but the perfectionist in me just has a REALLY hard time doing that.  I want to make it look good right from the get-go!  I mean, why should you re-do something you are doing right now anyway.  Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.  (aka: perfectionism)
  • The Television = Don’t even get me started on this one.  I am a firm believer that productivity will NEVER be at its highest if you have the TV on.  You are, after all, human.  If you really need to have some type of media on while you work … try the radio or listen to music through headphones.
  • Miscellaneous mishaps that are completely out of your control = A call from your mom, kids, grandparent, boss, etc.  The mail carrier drops off a package that you must sign for … and then, of course, you have to open it and explore it right away.  The toilet overflows because of some mysterious object that your youngest tried to flush.  The dog does his business on the carpet (or one of the beds) and it must be cleaned immediately before leaving a permanent stain … and smell.

Anyway … you get the idea.  As you can see, some of the items on this list are mindless timewasters that rob us of productivity.  Others though are completely out of our control but still have the power to make us feel like we failed.  Let go of the guilt and stress.  Be realistic BEFORE making your To-Do list and if, at the end of the day, you feel like you WASTED the day because hardly anything got done … make up an “AFTER” list.

Were you busy or lazy?

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