As human beings, we get overwhelmed. We get drained by a flood of tasks that characterizes our daily lives.
Brim full task lists is our signature.
But so is crossing over to a new day with unfinished tasks.
The work remains undone; the page remains blank and we feel like beating ourselves up. All these can be attributed to a single cause – An overwhelming number of things to do.
It overpowers our ability to tackle them resulting in zero days or worse still – countless unfinished tasks.
It leaves us burnt out with nothing to show for it.
Debunking a Myth
It is a popular thought line that to achieve more you’ve got to pick up more tasks.
For a long time I believed same. That to do more, get better and go higher on the achievement ladder meant picking and working on lots of tasks; multitasking.
Alas, I was wrong.
To really achieve more you need to work more on your most important tasks and not just working on more tasks.
Although increasing your chances of succeeding entails more work, it doesn’t in any way mean a flood of work.
More work should be more of the most important tasks on the list else it only keeps you busy and does not necessarily boost your productivity.
Mounting up a truck load of any kind of task is flooding and counterproductive; overwhelming! (Click to Tweet )
A way out of This
I can relate to getting overwhelmed by tasks.
For instance there was this Tuesday morning, I was researching for an article and gradually go dragged into starting another different article and then another. An hour later, I was stuck. Couldn’t continue because I had wandered far off course.
I’d started five articles and you can guess, completed – None! I’d increased the size of my task list but certainly not my productivity if anything I lost productive resources.
I was angry at myself. I’d just used up an hour to produce a bunch of half and quarterly baked articles.
This is just one of many instances where I lost productive hours to the task flood.
This continued until I came to the realisation that:
“Reducing the number of your tasks increases your focus and productivity. Less is actually more! ”
The truth is: You don’t need to lengthy task list. What you need is a healthy one.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make your task list healthy and get going towards your goals.
1. Reduce the number of items on your task list. This eliminates the task flood, gives you fewer things to focus on and helps you avoid haste and multitasking.
2. Prioritise your tasks. Use the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle). Do your most important tasks first. Put them on the very top of your list.
3. Plan ahead. In as much as I advocate for the importance of actions to endless planning, it is important as it helps you put your priorities straight and not get carried away by distraction.
4. Set up routines. Don’t frown. You may be thinking that routines take freedom and creativity away from your daily life but it doesn’t. In fact, it helps you have a clear goal every time and eliminates clutter.
5. Do one thing at a time. This advice helped me do more in record time because when you focus on one thing, you do it better and faster. A trial will convince you.
Never allow your tasks to crash in on you. Plan ahead with routines of well prioritised tasks. Do one thing at a time and make sure that list is short enough to be completed at the end of the day.
This would dissociate you with the task flood, make your task list healthy and thus free you from getting overwhelmed.
Now go and work on your tasks.
Happy task attainment.