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Digging Out of an Overwhelmed Workday

Many of you may have tried my 1MTD or MYN systems and perhaps gotten behind and maybe even given up on that task list. Don’t worry, it happens!

However, I bet you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. And you’re probably reluctant to get started on the old task list because it has hundreds of things in there that you are feeling guilty about and the list is too long.

The fact that you’re not using the list probably means it’s overloaded with “shoulds” that really aren’t that high a priority compared to your current work.

Here’s how to dig out, step by step:  

  1. In the old 1MTD or MYN list that you are not using anymore, move everything from the high and medium/normal section down to the low priority section. I know, that may feel wrong, but stay with me. If there are a lot of things already in the low section, put these above them.
  2. Now, working from your memory only, fill in the now empty high and medium/normal sections. That means anything absolutely due today put in the high section. Anything that is due in the next 10 days or so (but not due today) put in the medium/normal section. In that medium/normal section, if anything has an absolute due date, type it in front of the name of the task like this: DUE Feb 23 Complete Sales Report.
  3. Anything in your memory that is due beyond 10 days, put at the top of the low priority section. In MYN you may need to adjust some start dates to force them to the top.

Okay, now you’ve got the main things that are bugging you off your mind and onto a list that you trust.

Next Steps

Next, scan through your recent email and find things that are pretty important, and convert them to tasks into the three list sections as I’ve described above.

Finally, when you have time, go through the old section of the low priority section, (all the things you dragged down there in step 1 above) and figure out if there’s some things that ought to be moved back up into the high or medium/normal sections, per the rules above.

Now work your list! And commit to yourself to now stay ahead of this. One of the main things that helps you do that is to make sure you stick with the rules of the system that I have at these links, they’re very simple:

Rules 1: How often to review each section

Rules 2: Limit on how many tasks in each section

That’s it!