How to prioritize when you’re drowning

You’re busy.

No, that doesn’t adequately describe it. You’re so busy that your desk is on fire and you’re drowning in must-haves and top-priorities. How are you going to organize this mess, show some progress, and hopefully finish the day with a sense that somehow, something’s been done because right now, the whole thing looks insurmountable?

First off, ease up. Nothing is going to get done in this mindset. Whatever you need to do in the next five minutes to regain your equilibrium, go and do. I like to get a glass of water. The point is: step away from the stress and change the environment. I find that a two minute walk has sometimes saved me huge embarrassment later, because it allows me the freedom to think for a moment.

Secondly, write it down. Write down what must get done today, and split it off from what must get done tomorrow. Ask for help if today’s list is still too big to tackle.

Thirdly, once the burning tasks are done, review the rest. At this moment, it might be tempting to go home and tackle all of it tomorrow, but try to roll forward a little on the larger, longer term projects. Look at your SENT mail – what did you say you’d deliver? Are you awaiting an answer from anyone? Now’s the time to follow up. Take a monster job, break it into small jobs, and do one.

I think of it as akin to kicking cans down the road. You’re not going to get it all done in a day, but you’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll be able to accomplish.

About The Author

Entrepreneur. Blogger. Genealogist. Volunteer.

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