How to Boost Productivity When You’re Overwhelmed
There’s so much to do. Deadlines to meet, tasks to be completed, meetings to attend, and appointments to keep. In this age of multi-tasking and productivity, the amount of work we face on a daily basis can dash our motivation and sap our energy.
When you’re overwhelmed, use these strategies to prioritize and move forward.
Make a list of what needs to be done
Whether it’s a project at work, a long-term dream, personal items that need your attention, or a combination of things, write it all down.
Getting everything down on paper frees your brain from having to remember it all. Note any due dates next to items that must be completed by a specific day.
Remove self-imposed deadlines
How often have you set a goal to get something done within a time frame when it really doesn’t need a due date? Ask yourself if it really matters when it gets done, or if eventually getting it done is what matters.
Self-imposed deadlines are motivation killers. When we don’t meet them, our motivation decreases, which is counter productive. Examine your list for deadlines that you have imposed on yourself and free yourself from the pressure of completing them within that time frame.
Separate the urgent from the important
There’s a difference between what is urgent and what is important. This idea has been discussed by time management experts for years.
Urgent tasks are ones with set deadlines. They must be completed by a certain date, and so they often get most of our attention.
Important items move us toward our long-term goals. They snow ball over time and result in big gains.
Ironically, important tasks often become low priority because it’s easy to lose sight of their cumulative effects. They often get pushed aside by the urgent tasks that demand our attention each day.
It’s important to make time each day for important tasks. Don’t put off your dreams for some day. If you don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen.
Choose what to do today
Decide what you will accomplish today, using a combination of both urgent and important tasks. Pick one urgent item you dread the most, and do it first. Completing it will provide a sense of relief, and motivate you to move on to more enjoyable tasks.
As you work on the important, think about how these efforts will add up over time. Remember that small steps in the right direction will get you to your destination.
At the end of the day, review your list
Reflect on what you’ve accomplished and read through what’s still to be done. Use the remaining items as a foundation for tomorrow’s list.
Now, go have an insanely productive day!