Monday, July 6, 2009

Getting Started?

Question received from a reader: How do you tackled your to-do list when you are overwhelmed and don't know where to start?

My to-do list is looking more like one of those governmental instruction manuals that are so thick that people give up and throw them out without even looking at them. I wish I could throw it out without looking at it. But of course that wouldn't help me in the long run. In times like this, when I have a lot to do and not feeling motivated or actually just feeling overwhelmed it is hard to get started. But I do have a few tricks that help me especially in times like this...

* I set a timer for 15 minutes and just pick one thing to start on and work it for 15 minutes. Or I make a play list of 3 to 5 songs and work through that playlist.

After done with that 15 minutes, I do something I want but set a timer again for 10 to 15 minutes. Be it watch some tv, read or be online - but limit the time. And then start the process over again. But make it a little longer this time. Set the time for 20 to 30 minutes and work until the timer goes off.

I find that if I do this just a few times by the time I get to the 2nd or 3rd round I am in my groove and don't stop working.

* When I can't choose that one thing to start on - I number them and do the random number generator online. And then start on that one.

* A long list often means I won't accomplish it all. And that feeling often deflates me before even getting started so I just pick 1 to 3 things I want to accomplish that day. And put them on their own list so I am not looking at that huge long list. Then if I accomplish those things go back to the list and depending how much more time I have in the day - pick another few things to do. Breaking it up into smaller goals and lists helps it not be daunting.

* I really look through my list there things that really need to be on their right now? Can't I combine a few things to make it easier on myself? Are there things that create more work for myself then necessary? Because most of the time I do create more work for myself. Such as we have a guest coming to visit this week. Do I really need to steam all the carpets again? I just did it for spring cleaning so most likely I am just creating more work for myself by trying to be a perfectionist. If I really am stressing about it - I could just narrow it down to do the heavy traffic area in the house. And then I am knocking things off my list but still keeping attention to detail.

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