When I think of Zen, I think of easy, masterful, and calming.
When I think of how most of my crazy-busy days are structured, I think of anything but easy, masterful, and calming.

Days seem overwhelming. To-do lists seem long. I am never caught up.
Some tasks seem to take longer than I thought. Some tasks seem (and do) take a much shorter time than what I thought.

Trying to change the hectic-ness of my life is just not possible. Life with two active teenagers, a new romance, and a demanding startup business fills up my overflowing calendar time slots. As a single mom and business owner, I know that it is my choice on how I react to each day. How do I make my schedule feel more zen-like, and less crazy-busy?

On one particularly crazy-busy day, my to-do list had over 50 items listed for the day. Really? Is it even possible to do that many items?

While taking a much needed mid-day break at Starbucks, I looked at that list in an entirely different way. I began to estimate how much time it would take to complete each task. On some of the items, I forecasted the time accurately. On many of the items, I was highly inaccurate with my “guesstimate”.

The light bulb and the major AHA moment flashed at the same time. No wonder I was so challenged with my “getting things done”, as I was totally unaware of how long it actually takes to accomplish most of my tasks.

How could I plan my days, full with appointments, phone calls, email replies, if I was inept at blocking the correct amount of time? I was showing a lack of love for myself and for my time.

On those 50 items, I painstakingly went down the list one by one to “guesstimate” the time realistically to accomplish the task.

The next AHA moment was when I added up all the minutes for those 50 tasks. How could I possibly get all those tasks done that day? The reality was that I could not. Those 50 items added up to 650 minutes, or 10 hours. The actual available time I had was truly 480 minutes, or 6 hours.

No wonder I always felt as though I was always behind. It was true.

The word “Capacity” popped into my head. If I had a better handle on what was my “true capacity” for each day, then I could match my available total time, with the forecasted time to do the tasks. The official definition of capacity is “the actual or potential ability to perform”.

Thus, the Capacity To Do sheet was created for use by me and my coaching clients, providing a realistic view of actually CAN be accomplished. A zen-like day is possible. I can love my tasks and schedule, feeling good and accomplished.

Feel free to download the document at www.LaurenMidgley.com.