The last several months have been a little on the overwhelming side at times. We were in the process of buying and selling a home, preparing for baby #2, and the workload at the office grew even quicker than the task list at home.
There have been several times when I've thought "how am I going to get all of this done?" and felt like when I got one thing done, two new tasks appeared. Stuff to do appeared to be piling up quicker than I could do anything about it.
One day this week, I took a radical approach. I didn't work on any specific thing for an hour. Instead, I just worked on my actual to-do list. Not things on my to-do list. Just going through my actual project list for the next several weeks.
My actual day-to-day process is pretty good already. Between Todoist and my Productivity Planner, taking things one day at a time hasn't been an issue. Getting stuff done hasn't been a big problem.
What taking an hour just to look at my list did do:
- I was able to get out of survival mode and into a planning mode. It helped me be more proactive instead of reactive.
- I noticed tasks that could be de-prioritized and other ones that needed to move up.
- I was able to break down larger items into smaller ones with more rapid deadlines
- My email inbox went to zero
More importantly, my brain cleared up. There wasn't a cloud hanging over me about what I didn't have done or what I may have missed (or what may be coming that I don't know about yet).
Sacrificing an hour of not actually checking another item off my list seemed a little counterproductive at first. Actually doing it ended up being the most productive thing I did all week.
Having a clear mind and an "attack" mode instead of a "survive" mentality helped me stay more focused. I knew I had a lot to do...but also had a plan for how to get it done. Just having that peace of mind has helped me stay in-the-moment with the things I'm working on in the present.
Moving forward, I think I'm going to make this a mid-week exercise. Starting the week with this seems like logical approach. I've learned that you really don't know what your week holds when you kick off Monday. It usually takes a few days of work to really have a grasp of what you need to tackle.
What about you? Do you ever take time to step away from your project list and re-evaluate what you're working on?