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Tips for Mindful Task Management: Part 2

Tips for Mindful Task Management: Part 2

One more benefit I found from scheduling my to-dos on a calendar is that I can visually rearrange them to address certain items earlier, later or on another day if I prefer.

1. Time Your Tasks and Prioritize Them

Sometimes if it feels overwhelming to get the to-dos onto the calendar — particularly at the beginning of the week. I start out by just dumping all of my to-dos on a Monday, creating an appointment for each item, putting a description and setting a duration for it. I throw them all onto Monday in any order simply to get them out with a description and period of time I want to allocate to them. Then I start dragging them around to different days and different times of day to see what feels right by looking at them visually. If you’re a visual thinker who feels hesitant and overwhelmed by the scheduling of to-dos, this tip could prove beneficial. I find that seeing them out there not only helps me schedule them but reduces the anxiety I have about the idea of organizing them, which then makes it easy to revise the schedule if I slip up on anything.

2. Incorporate This with Mindfulness

What does this have to do with mindfulness? Well, there’s a lot of value in stepping back from the chaos of the day and thinking mindfully about when to-dos should be done so that you can focus on what’s important rather than simply what’s urgent. To me, that’s all an exercise in mindfulness. If our norm is to mindlessly race from one thing to the next throughout the day and then again every time we have a spare minute to scan our to-do list for an item to check off, that’s a somewhat mindless approach — regardless of how important or relevant the to-do is. This process of stepping back periodically, once a week or once a day, and really thinking carefully or productively about what needs to be done and why represents an exercise in mindfulness. Reducing the stress and anxiety level can help create or facilitate a more mindful state. If I know that my important to-dos are sitting on my calendar somewhere, I feel much less anxious than when I’m thinking, “Oh no, there are things I know that I need to get done, but I don’t even know if I have them written down or indicated somewhere.” If I know I’ve scheduled them, then I’m less likely to believe that something critical is going to slip through the cracks. That decrease in anxiety can help me be more mindful overall.

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