Always Something To Do

Here’s a process I use to make tackling tasks easier.

I have days when I have thoughts flying around my head, bits of paper everywhere and items that need action all over the place. Changing venue, type of activity and the order of routine for regular tasks can all help. I get a buzz out of seeing the tasks get tidied away, a different location is like a breath of fresh air and I love the busyness and the sense of achievement when jobs are done.

On other days I feel completely overwhelmed and see nothing but mess. On days like this I pile everything to one place – usually my dining room table and plough my way through everything until I reach the bottom. It’s only when I can see the table again that I feel a sense of relief and control again.

If you have tasks that are mounting up or are beginning to overwhelm you take a breath, set aside some time, book an appointment in your diary if necessary, and make a contract with yourself to at least start the task.

Start the task by being clear on your goal. Work backward from what you want to achieve and break the task down into manageable chunks. If the chunks become overwhelming call in reinforcements. A reality check with a trusted friend or mentor will help you re-evaluate the situation. If you need to, invoke the D word and delegate.

Then set a reasonable timescale. It doesn’t have to be as blunt as finishing the complete task by X o’clock. Breaking the task into manageable activities and setting smaller goals with the end in mind is a great way of building on your sense of achievement. A big project is more likely to stay on track and be less overwhelming if you take regular bite-sized tasks and achieve them one step at a time. The task may already have been side-lined for other activities so be realistic about what you can achieve during short periods of concentrated activity without losing enthusiasm. And don’t forget to reward yourself along the way.

This may all seem like a lot of planning before tackling the actual task but it helps. Thinking through the process often clarifies the objective and makes the tasks more achievable. It may even lead you in a different direction that may be of greater benefit than the original plan. Remember – small steps can take you a long way!