I’m a note taker, and a list maker. If I get overwhelmed with the amount of work facing me, I’ll pull out my pad and scribble them down on paper. There, that’s better. Now its something real and in front of me, which means it can be addressed.
Maybe it can even be overcome.
Everyone knows the feeling of having a long to do list awaiting you in the morning. Whether it’s a list of assignments and lab reports due soon for college, or the seemingly endless bullets of tasks that build up in the working world, which seems to happen at different stages no matter how hard you try to stay on top of things, we’ve all faced that feeling of a seemingly insurmountable list of ‘problems’ awaiting out attention.
So, what to do when you have the tasks on paper? Should you work on this project that your supervisor had been asking about? What about that report you know is due next week ? No one is looking for it now, but you know that the questions will start coming in by Friday.
Overwhelmed and frustrated, you put on some music (classical study music, binaural beats, or perhaps some heavy metal), and begin to work through the list from the top.
At the end of the week, you’ve managed to check some things off the list. Victory!
Or is it?
It’s easy to put your head down, throw your earphones in, and start blasting through your task list, bit by bit. However, if you’re not working on the right things, you’ll soon be back in the same position you were before, bombs going off left and right, and you scrambling to get out of their range.
But it’s a minefield, and your luck can only hold out for so long.
It’s much harder to look at the task list at the beginning, prioritise, and work on those more important things. Ideally you want to work on the things with the most leverage first.
That presentation that you have to give to you’re department in two weeks time? You should probably get that together rather than that short report due next month.
If your anything like me, your brain often doesn’t want to do this. “Quick victories” it yells, charging blindly into the fray.
But you won’t win any wars that way.
Like any general going into battle, you need a strategy.
You need a plan.
So get started. Take up the anchor, set the sails, and steer the ship out of the harbour.
But first, chart your course.
More on this next time,