You’re feeling the anxiety build, slowly at first.
It’s building because you know you have a ton of things to do but you can barely keep track of everything.
Work is becoming unbearable with all the things you have to do. Every day you find more tasks are added to your already full plate.
You start thinking you have to put in some late hours.
Don’t. This is not always a solution.
In fact, you want to preserve your personal time for you to relax and reconnect with yourself and key relationships.
Here are three things you can do to reduce your task build up without sacrificing your personal time.
1. Schedule time for backlog work in your normal work schedule
Each day you may have core things you need to prepare. For example, you may have to write a daily report based on data collected. Schedule a three hour period for work you need to get done today.
Then schedule a two hour block to catch up on back log work.
Every day pull one item from your back log list into this two hour block and aim to complete one back log item at a time.
If you finish before the two hour period is up, pull another item and prepare your resources for the next day’s session.
If you don’t finish, you know you have a session tomorrow to complete it.
2. Get started with a small commitment of two 10 minutes sessions
You may feel so overwhelmed that you may not even know where to start.
Even though you have allocated two hours to back log work, start with one small 10 minute commitment just to familiarize yourself with what you need to do for the task.
When you know what you need to produce, you give your brain something to work on. It will start thinking about the resources you need or who you may need to consult.
Then the second 10 minute session should be on making a simple plan. Just list the outcome and the steps you need to take.
When you have a list of steps in front of you, you will know when the task is done and can be released.
Also, you get a good feeling when you check off items from a list of steps as done.
3. Reward yourself
When you complete a backlog task, reward yourself but don’t introduce distractions.
A suitable reward is having a tea or coffee that you love, or taking a walk around your building.
Don’t distract yourself with emails or social media during your two hour backlog work session. They take up too much time and energy. Instead leave social media for your personal time unless it is part of your job.
Create a list of things that are rewards for you. Keep it short so that you could easily choose one item off the list each day.
Also, prepare ahead to ensure you have your rewards on hand.
And, reward yourself as soon as you have completed the task.
Don’t wait to reward later because the reward is a reinforcer for doing the backlog work.
Actively reduce overwhelm
The only way to reduce task overwhelm is to actively work on the tasks.
But at the same time you can’t work on everything at once. So start with one task at a time and finish it before moving on.
Start small with two 10 minute sessions because you need to define a clear outcome and put a small rough plan in place.
And, reward yourself when you have completed a task. You did the work so you deserve the reward.
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels