We have all been there. We start out our day with productivity in mind and a plan in place, only to come to the end of the day and realize our to-do list is still full and we're left wondering exactly where all our time went.
It happened to me the other day. I had a list of what I needed to do, a clear schedule and I was feeling energized to get things done. By 6:30 pm I stared incredulously at my to-do list: there had been 10 items at the start of the day but at that moment there were still 5. What on earth had happened? Where did all my time go? I mean I know I did something to fill that time...
Do you want to know where all my time, where all our "lost" time goes? Into the Rabbit Hole.
Rabbit holes are moments in our day when our plans to be productive get interrupted and we are sucked into doing other things instead of what we planned to do:
A colleague calls with an urgent matter that needs to be discussed.
One of our children texts about forgotten homework that needs to be turned in today.
An appliance breaks and we have make a call to set up it's repair.
We get a Facebook notification and follow it.
We get an email notification and open it and have to deal with the contents of the message.
In short, rabbit holes open up when something else breaks into our plans and "steals" our time.
They are unavoidable, but they do not have to derail us from being productive.
Here are 3 ways to get out of the Rabbit Hole:
STOP. Whatever you are doing, simply stop. Finish the email response, respond to that notification, get the homework delivered, whatever, but then stop. When distractions come we tend to follow them into more distractions without even realizing it. When you find yourself in a rabbit hole it is imperative to stop moving forward into it.
REASSESS. Get out your to-do list and your schedule tracker (If you don't have one of these awesome tools yet, you can get one for free by signing up HERE) and see what still needs to be done and the amount of time you have left to do it in. Before making any decisions stop and pray and ask for wisdom and guidance in prioritizing what's left on your list according to the most important tasks. Then focus on your next best step.
START AGAIN. We all get caught up in rabbit holes, but that doesn't mean we have to let them derail the rest of our day (or even the next). While it may be true that you now have less time, or have to remove or push back something else, you are not forever stuck in a pattern of being unproductive. You have a choice, and choosing to start again silences the negative thoughts that come to berate us for getting so off track in the first place.
We all get snared into our own rabbit holes, but that says nothing about your ability to be productive. What speaks loudest is what you do when you find yourself in one.
Join the Conversation: What has helped you get out of your rabbit holes and back on track in your day?