You have too many tasks to do to keep track of and running out of time. What do you do?
I hope you’ve developed a strategy not to lose your composure. Many people do.
Here is my strategy. I don’t claim it’s the best strategy, but it keeps me calm and lets me finish things. I hope it works for you.
First, I list my tasks. The tasks are never as many as I fear when I feel desperate. If I feel like I have six tasks to do, when I write them I usually find I have three or four. I almost always look at the shorter-than-expected list and have to triple check I’m not missing anything. Then I realize I’m not and I calm down.
Next I pick one task to do first. I can’t always say which is the best to start with—maybe the one I can finish first, maybe the one that will take the longest, maybe the most expensive one, the riskiest one… I can’t say ahead of time. I have to figure it out each time, but I can always pick one. If none suggests itself as the best, I just pick one.
Now I do that one to completion. The others feel important, but I leave them. I finish that one.
Now I move to another and so on until nothing important remains.
I don’t know about you, but this strategy works, and better than any alternative.
After finishing a few tasks, the desperation passes and I can work on the rest comfortably, or sometimes realize some of the less important ones aren’t important at all. The problems were never as bad or many as I feared when I felt swamped.
Now just knowing I can handle messy collections of problems keeps me calm from the start. Not always, but usually.
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