Low hanging fruit

Photo courtesy of Ross G.  Strachan

Photo courtesy of Ross G. Strachan

What do you do when your task list is so long and unruly that you freak out and become completely overwhelmed?

That is me lately – I’ve been dealing with the urgent too much. I have been putting out so many fires and taking so many notes, that when I finally sat down to see what all I really needed to be doing, I had to throw my hands up in frustration because there was so much to be done.

I took a deep breath, and went back through my list with a highlighter to pick out what I call “low hanging fruit.”

I knew there was no way I could get it all done quickly, so I highlighted some tasks that were fairly simple to accomplish and that didn’t take a huge block of time to complete. Then I got started.

A couple of the items involved quick email as a starting point to a larger project. I filed a few things that I no longer needed. I made a couple of phone calls.

I couldn’t believe the lift I got from finally accomplishing even things so small. I had not checked off any major projects, or spent any significant time working through solutions, but I had made some progress that would make those things easier later on.

Plus, when I went back through the list, it felt incredible to be able to mark things off, and then I could refine my list so it wasn’t quite so overwhelming. I also took the time to block out work time on my calendar for some of the larger projects.

Had I focused on one of the major projects first, I would have been distracted by the volume of little tasks still outstanding. If I had continued to work on refining the task list, I would have been spinning my wheels.

Instead, I felt like I had made major progress and was energized to take care of even more things. Now I can make reasonable progress, and feel confident that other things aren’t falling through the cracks.

What low hanging fruit can you knock off?