Too Much To Do

Dave Buckland


Too much to do and don’t know where to begin? Start here.

How many times are you in the start, middle, or end of your day and can’t seem to get any traction?

It feels like you’re a super-fast point guard running the court - jab stepping here and there to confuse the defense, but in your situation the only one confused is you. Your perception of how much there is to do and how much time it will take leaves you unproductive, highly distracted and pretty damn frustrated. I get it. I’ve been there hundreds of times. What matters in situations like this is that you identify your lack of traction and proceed to do the following:

  1. Stop – seriously, just stop. Ask Siri or set a timer of 5 minutes and just breathe. Count 5-6 seconds breathing in and the same count breathing out. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

  2. Now that you have “reset” you need to write down the top 5 things that are on your mind or the most pressing in order of priority.

  3. Add estimates for how much time you think each task will take next to each item on the list. Be real. Use the moment of calm to think clearly.

  4. Total up the time and determine the feasibility of completing those items given your schedule and the time you’ve estimated – thoughtfully and accurately. From here you may need to chat with a supervisor to agree on timing and priorities, or you may need to accept that only the first two items are attainable in the time available. Either way, your head is clear, priorities are in place and your own mind (not to mention your supervisor) will very much appreciate that.

As long as you consistently go through this exercise whenever you are feeling like a stressed out point guard, you will lose the random anxiety that comes from just trying to “put your head down and get through the day.” Avoid that blind approach at all costs. It just gets the wrong stuff done and leaves you feeling drained and unproductive.

OK – time to stop reading and get that 5-minute timer going for some deep breathing.

Even the best point guards will call a timeout when things are getting out of control.

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