Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Life doesn’t always go smoothly. During times of high stress, such as overwork, sickness, personal issues, or simple overwhelm, we have to think about the issues at hand, rather than our normal schedules.
But what happens when you are back in smooth waters and you realize your task list is about to swamp your boat?
Here is a four step process to get back on track.
1. Clear The Decks
The first thing to do is to take everything on your task list and transfer it to another list. Call it what you like, such as “catch up”, “later”, or “leftovers”, the purpose of this list is to get the mass of tasks out of your sight.
Why does this work? If you are looking at a huge list, you will get discouraged by how much you have to do. Putting the outstanding items on another list gives you a breather, while not losing track of the tasks.
Go through this secondary list and start deleting. Take off all tasks that are repeating and have little impact. Things like “wipe down toaster.” this will come around again, and it really doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get done this go-around. It will come back.
Be cautious about just deleting repeating tasks on the list, though. Some things must be done, such as “give dog flea medicine”, in order to ensure we are not causing bigger problems.
Why does this work? By clearing the list of things that don’t really need to be done, we shorten how much is left.
3. Hit The Low-Hanging Fruit
When you’ve been running in overdrive, most of the stuff that gets left by the wayside is the little stuff. Once you have pulled everything off into a separate list and removed the unnecessary repeats, take an hour and knock off as many of the little tasks as you possibly can.
Why does this work? The boost from crossing off so many of those tasks will stay with you, and give you a mental attaboy that you need after falling behind.
4. Start Slowly
So you are now left with a pared-down version of your original list. At this point, you need to get on with the tasks that are still coming in. Life doesn’t stand still, after all, while you get caught up. Work your daily lists, and add one or two tasks per day from the backlog in.
Why does this work? This method keeps you up to date with your incoming tasks, but also allows you to chip away at the backlog.
Take It Easy
Remember that if you have fallen behind, you do need to take it easy on yourself. Negative self-talk gets us nowhere, and if you have just been through a stressful time, you need to be nice to yourself. Give yourself a break, do as much as you can without over-doing it, and you will be back on top in no time!
What is your favorite method for getting back on top? Do you have a new one? Share below!
Photo by LimiH