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?