This one simple idea will help you to feel less stressed. Plus you'll make better use of the time you have. And all it takes is analyzing the whole of any project to break it down into the individual actions you will take or delegate.

Let’s be clear about what constitutes a project. A project isn’t necessarily some gigantic undertaking that you’re involved in at work. A project is anything that requires more than one action on your part.

When you don’t break projects down into actions each time you look at the project on your list of things to do or each time you think about it you have to make a decision. You have to decide what your next step should be or you decide to think about it later. So every time you’re faced with the project you doing unnecessary mental work that increases your level of stress.

So rather than having a list of projects you want to develop a list of next actions. When you’re feeling overwhelmed because you have so much to do and not enough time and you’re looking at a list of projects it only makes you feel more confused and frustrated because you’re too frazzled to make a good decision about what you should do next. Contrast that to when you’re in the same situation and you have a list of actions in front of you.

When you have a list of actions there are fewer decisions to make. You can look at your list and scan down the list and choose one action you can do now. There are two ways you can approach that choice.

You can make that choice based on the amount of time you have available right now. Throughout your day each and every day you’ll have these little odd time lots anywhere from 5-15 minutes. It isn’t enough time to delve into anything too complicated, but it’s just enough time to clean up a few little things.

You can make that choice based on priority. In this case your scanning your list of actions and choosing the one most important action you can take that has the potential to produce the greatest results. When you can make choices based on their greatest potential for value you’re learning how to improve your time management skills so you get more value from your time and have less stress.

When you have a list of next actions related to every project or your overall big picture goals you have the ability to be much more focused. Before you end each day scan your list and choose just 1-3 most important actions that you’ll take the next day and plan when you’ll do them. When the next day comes hold yourself accountable to take those actions.

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