When faced with an overwhelming to-do list (of problems and potential problems), what can be done to avoid burnout and extreme stress? Prioritization. Each day I look at my list of priorities and choose the most important to work on, then the next, and so on. This combats the feeling of drowning in a sea of tasks. The more responsibilities you are given (or take on yourself) the more needs you become aware of. The truth is that many of the needs you see are things you are capable of handling. But you are not capable of handling all of them together. You should sort your tasks for different areas of your life, family, business, individual projects, housekeeping, social, religious. Determine a balance and make sure that you are not letting one area grow beyond the boundaries you have set.
Keeping a running list of tasks can be liberating because it relieves the stress of trying to remember all the important things there are to do. An item written down on the list is an item that will not be forgotten. Write down the things you need to remember and clear your brain. Then put them in order (I simply write a number to the left of them). Don’t work on the easiest or shortest problems necessarily, work on the ones that are critical. If the task can be done by someone else, delegate it immediately. Use your best blocks of time to solve knotty, important problems.
Does this kind of prioritization make everyone happy? No, because you can only work on one item at a time, and your ranking of your tasks may not be the same as someone else. Resist the urge to allow others to influence your rankings. And learn to be realistic with your expectations of the time you will need to spend on each task. Be modest in what you take on, and decline requests that you will not be able to meet.
Even though I end each day with a list of unfinished items, I can sleep at night knowing I spent my time wisely working on the most important tasks. I recommend this approach, but it comes with a warning: Some items on your to-do list will never be done! And that is OK. Because that means they never were the most important tasks for your attention. Others will do them or they will fade in importance.
More to come soon. If you want to get in touch please let me know! Thanks for reading!