26 March 2008

Oh My God I'm so overwhelmed right now...

I bet everyone feels like this sometimes... you look around and there is so much to do, in your work life, your home life, your social life, whatever.  You can't even think where to begin or how to decide what is most important.

But wait, there's more!  It seems that every phone call, every conversation with another person, every text message adds something that needs to be done.  Where will it end?  I know that when it gets like this for me I just want to go and lie down somewhere, maybe eat some chocolate, and read a book or watch some TV.

The funny thing is though, if you just stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths then write down EVERYTHING you have to do, hey, you know what, there isn't that much really.  And you can get your husband/wife/partner to do a couple of things, and delegate some of the work stuff, and before you know it you're lazing around reading or watching TV and NOT feeling guilty!  Well OK maybe that's taking it a bit far but here goes...

1. Write it all down.  It doesn't have to be in order or neat or logical just scribble down everything you can think of that you have to do.  Let your mind wander around the "rooms" of your life - work, home, children (if you have them), pets, elderly relatives, friends, social commitments, clubs and activities, sport, every aspect of your life.  Think about what you need to do.

2. Now you can start grouping some of these tasks.  Some will be one off tasks that can go straight on to your favourite form of to do list.  Others will be projects and you may need to break them down into tasks.  Group them logically as you see it - it might be geographical (things to do at the shops, at work, at home) or time based (things to do on the weekend, on the way to work one morning, at lunch time) or any other system that makes sense to you.

3. Once you have them grouped prioritise the tasks in each group.  Use A, B, C or 1, 2, 3.  It doesn't really matter.  Or you can use Urgent, Important, One day.  Just whatever makes sense to you.

4. Depending on how you grouped them look at your schedule/ diary/ Blackberry/ Palm/ calendar and start allocating times to do the bigger tasks or groups of tasks.  Always start with the top priority ones though!

5. Each day refer to your main list of tasks and schedule them into your day - you don't have to actually write/enter them into your schedule, as long as you have a clear idea of what needs to be done.  Then you can forget all the ones that aren't scheduled in for "today" and get on with life again.

6. Phew!!!  That feels better now, doesn't it?  And if you keep this up it only takes a few minutes each day to get a clear picture of what needs to be done.

I think the most important thing to remember is - make your system suit you.  Don't try to conform to GTD or any other time management system, or using a particular type of planner such as a Day Timer or electronic device such as a Blackberry - whatever you use needs to make your life easier not harder.

No comments: