A FAB and super-practical way to get through an overwhelming TO-DO list!

Written by  //  October 6, 2014  //  Daily Juice  //  1 Comment

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“To achieve great things, two things are (1)

Oh goodness, sometimes there is just TOO MUCH to do, right? I’ve been feeling a bit that way recently. You too? Here’s something that works for me when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I know it doesn’t sound very helpful. And when I first tried it I was super-sceptical. But it’s good. It’s really GOOD!

A Turn your to-do list into a Time-To-Do list

  1.  Get your to-do list
  2.  Draw a line down the right hand side so you can make a column for ‘time’
  3.  Estimate how much time you think each thing on your to-do list will take!
  4.  Write your time estimate beside each to-d0 thingy

Super-simple but sometimes this is the ONLY thing I need to do, to make me feel calmer. Weird, yes, but I think just taking a few minutes to work out how much time I really need makes it all feel more doable. If that’s not enough and I’m still feeling a bit panicky,  I do this:

B Make a Time Budget

Go back through your Time-To-Do list and:

  1.  Cross off anything you can just NOT do. There’s always a few of these on my list!
  2.  Pick a few things to postpone. I can usually manage to put a couple of things off! Just make sure you pop them on another list so you don’t totally forget them
  3. For everything else on the list give it a time budget. So while I might have written down on my Time-to-do list that my blog post would take two hours I give it a new time BUDGET of just 1 ½ hours.
  4. I play around with my time-budget until it kinda fits the time I’ve got available

A Time-budget is just like a money budget! You can’t spend what you’ve not got money-wise and you can’t spend what you’ve not got time-wise either! But it’s amazing how you can get stuff done in LESS time when you need to! Time-budgets really work for me. Maybe they will for you TOO!

C Do TimeBoxing!

The final piece of the puzzle is TimeBoxing. I’ve written about this before, here, but basically to TimeBox just:

1. Pick the task you want to get done 2. Decide how long you want to spend doing it (from your time-budget!) 3. Set your timer for that amount of time 4. Start doing the task and STOP when the timer rings

Honestly, TimeBoxing is a GEM. Just give it a go. You’ll be amazed at how you CAN do great quality work in less time! What’s YOUR best tip for getting through an overwhelming to-do list?! Here’s something you can pin or save to remember! 3 ways to manage an overwhelming todo list


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One Comment on "A FAB and super-practical way to get through an overwhelming TO-DO list!"

  1. Suzanne December 1, 2014 at 8:35 pm · Reply

    Many years ago, I took over a medical secetarial job from someone who had been ill and absent for a very long time. There had been a sucession of temps, who had caused more of a back log because they didn’t know what they were doing. When I took over, there was 3 months of back log.

    I thought I can either let this get to me and stress me out, or I could just focus on one pile of work at a time.

    Most of the work was letters after the patient attended a clinic appt and were repetitive. I standardised these letters, numbered them and saved a template on the computer. Had a meeting with the Consultant to go over this, gave him a folder with a printer copy of each letter and it’s code. So all he had to dictate was the patient name and number, and the letter code.

    That speeded things up for me, as I just had to input patient details and print off. It speeded things up for the consultant too, giving him more time to focus on the complex cases.

    In those days, we still filed copies in the case notes. Having clinic lists from 3 months ago meant that some case notes would be removed for another clinic appt or one with a different Consultant. I was supposed to relocate the notes and put the copies in myself. I arranged with the clinic admin staff to send the copies to them to file, so the case notes were up to date for that Consultant. I did the same if they were with other secretaries.

    I didn’t see the point of delaying other secretaries by asking for the case notes. It was a 2 hospital site and it could take a couple of days each way for notes to travel. Where as post was taken several times a day. We didn’t have the facility to email and print as each Dept had it’s own headed paper, and was budgeted for.

    It took me 2 months to catch up and we continued with the process, I used the spare time to help other staff out, or spend time with the patients and their families.

    I’ve always worked that way since – streamline the process, delegate or ask others with specific skill sets to help out, and always treat a pile of work as a pile if individual items because, you can only work on one thing at a time.

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