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Ditch the To-Do List: A Practical Way to be Present and Manage Time

"Wait... you're writing about being present and managing time, but you're telling me to throw away my to-do list??"

Just hold your horses (that's what my four-year-old tells me) and listen for a second.

Many well-intentioned to-do lists sit on desks, bedside tables, kitchen tables or in wallets with things left undone. Then, we sit there and think, "If only we had more hours in the day." Turns out, we probably have more time than we realize.

Raise your hand if you've ever unlocked your phone, tapped Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, CNN, Pinterest, or any other time-sucking app or site and then all of a sudden 30 minutes has gone by and you haven't moved from where you were standing... Yes, I see that hand! Right. There. With. You.

Can't seem to complete your to-do list? Try this instead. Actually schedule time in your day to do things you need to get done. I'm talking, "Hey Google... schedule my laundry for 3pm today." Put it in your phone. Write it in your calendar. Give it space in your weekly planner. However you keep track of dates and times, use that. Excessive? No. Practical? Absolutely. It gives you less of an opportunity to say, "I didn't have time for that today." It also gives you a chance to decide which things are urgent and need to be prioritized and which can wait.

Now before you call me a hypocrite and say, "Read your own blog posts lady!", I'm most certainly not telling you to fill every minute of every hour of every day with a task. There's something to be said about spontaneity and having at least some time to do nothing. In other words, leave some white space in your life.

I don't know about you, but I worry less about getting things done when I know I'll have time to do it. You know what happens when there's less worry? You can focus on the here and now. You can be in the moment. You can be, you guessed it... present.

What are some practical ways you manage your time in order to be more present for those around you?

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