Time Regrets — Reduce Them with 3 Prioritizing Tips

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Reduce your time regrets with priority power.

Time regrets are common in our busy world. When you procrastinate or give in to distractions, do you later ‘come to’ and wish for a do-over? It’s the finiteness of time that makes our moments so precious. And yet, this limit can lead to worries about missed opportunities and other painful losses.

Time regrets don’t have to be part of your life.  Time management tips won’t erase them, magically, though.

To overcome your time regrets it’s essential to incorporate these two time management skills: decisiveness and prioritizing. So, what happens when you don’t exercise these two muscles?

The results are predictable:

As time races by, you run from one activity to another. In your attempt to “do it all” and avoid regrets, several projects remain half-finished, even the important ones.

You approach deadlines feeling urgent and stressed. The more you rush, the less you are in the moment. And the more likely you are to make costly, time-consuming mistakes.

Over time, these issues reduce your confidence in yourself and perpetuate a scarcity mentality. You feel bogged down. What you want hovers just out of reach. Sadly, you may end up blaming yourself or others.

Fortunately, when you develop skills for decisiveness and prioritizing, your level of satisfaction shoots up exponentially. You still can’t do everything, of course. But prioritizing keeps you from sabotaging yourself and undermining your own confidence.

Reduce Time Regrets: 3 Prioritizing Strategies

The following 3 strategies show you how to build the skills you need. Next time you create your daily to-do list:

1. Brainstorm all options you want to consider.

When you write your list, first include whatever comes to mind. Consider it a smorgasbord that displays everything you’d like to pile onto your plate today. Most likely it holds way more than you can manage. Its purpose is to provide an overview you’ll select from.

2. Pare Down Your Long List.

Now you’re ready to explore what will fit on your plate today. Review your long list. Estimate next to each activity how long it’s likely to take. See how many hours you’d need to take to complete everything.

That’s your incentive to prioritize. Draw a line through anything you feel will incur few, if any, regrets if left undone at present. Estimate how much time you can allocate to your projects today. This helps make it easier to conduct your second round of cuts.

3. Establish Priorities and Commit to a Short List.

Notice how each stage of decision-making prepares you to make the next round of decisions more easily. Now you can set priorities for what will remain on your short list.

Use your time frames to stay realistic. Highlight any important activity that is time-limited, like a meeting or birthday. When you have assigned priorities, finalize your list by selecting your top 3 time priorities. Notice how much easier it is to focus and be decisive when you work from a list that is short and realistic.

This gets easier with practice.

If you find this exercise difficult, don’t be discouraged. Decision-making is a skill that steadily improves with deliberate practice. The more consistently you review the outcome, day by day, the more effectively you can incorporate lessons that move you forward.

Addressing your top 3 time priorities goes a long way in reducing time regrets. It feels good to check everything off your short list by the end of the day, and if you still have the time, you can refer back to your long list and complete lower-priority tasks.

Ultimately, the more you support yourself using these tips, the better you know yourself, and the easier prioritizing becomes. So, what will you do today to start practicing this, and reducing your time regrets?

Here’s a tool to help avoid time regrets…

The Three-Column Scheduling Template gives you a simple and practical format for zeroing in on the snags in your schedule so you can address them and find more time.

  • Recognize patterns like procrastination, over-booking, not being able to say no, etc..
  • Concretize your time choices and their impact on your day.

Visit our Time Resources Page and sign up for one or both of these templates and the bonuses that come with them.

Feel empowered and energized as you take better care of yourself and stop letting time inflation rob you of precious time.

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