Do you ever have those days where your to-do list is as long as your arm. When you have deadlines looming and you don’t know what to do first? On those days I get knots in my stomach… that feeling of utter dread of being out of control and feeling like I’m drowning…
Today was one of those days. To be honest it crept up on me out of nowhere.
I’d just come out of a really long meeting and sat down at my desk. I looked at my to-do list and all the emails that I had yet to answer and realised that I had deadlines that I had to meet within the next few days. That’s when the stomach churning started!
My desk was hidden under a mound of paper work and I was struggling to get to my keyboard through the mess… It was at this point I gave myself a good talking to, enough was enough. I had no choice but to meet my deadlines and I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I decided it was time to take control of the situation.
Here’s how I got back on track:
1. Organise the paper work
When you can’t even get to the keyboard you know you’ve reached rock bottom! This is when the humble paper clip comes into its own… I pinned together all the papers that were related to a specific topic. These were the ones that I needed to keep. Notes scribbled on post-its were transferred to a notebook and the rest of the paper went in the bin. Sometimes you have to be ruthless.
2. Make a to do list of urgent tasks
My to-do list had grown to immense proportions and included tasks for the month, never mind the day! So I made a new list in my diary of those tasks that had to be done this week, with their deadlines.
Next to each deadline I wrote down how long I thought each task was going to take. This allowed me to plan my time more effectively and to allocate the appropriate the length of time to each task.
At this stage of my organising, I had already started to feel more in control. I think the panic sets in when you have lost control. As soon as things were put into some sort of order, it all felt so much more manageable.
4. Do the quick wins
Here’s where I probably differ from most people. I chose to do those tasks first that would only take no longer than an hour to complete. 2-3 of these completed and ticked off makes me feel like I’m really progressing and the weight really does lift at this point.
5. Move your mobile as far way from yourself as you can bare
Lets face it, your mobile is too much of a distraction. Every notification, every time the screen lights up, you just can’t help but check the reason why.
Move it away where you can’t see it or hear it.
6. Ask your colleagues/ family not to disturb you
Be honest with your colleagues/ family. Tell them you have work that has to be completed and you’d appreciate their support by not disturbing you and tell them how long you’re going to be unavailable.
So after organising myself you’re probably wondering how I got on?
Well I’ve done all the ‘quick wins’ and one of the major projects. I’ve still got 2 more large tasks that I need to finish by the end of the week. I know what needs to be done, and how long its going to take me and my stomach feels fine about it.
Plus – I can now actually see my keyboard! 🙂