Feeling Overwhelmed? Prioritize

If you’re anything like me, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point in the semester. I do a few different things on this campus and the culmination of all my areas of responsibility can feel like at lot, at times. One of my favorite author/blogger/life-hacker/entrepreneurs is Tim Ferriss, and as you can probably guess, he’s all too familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to give up doing what you like to stop feeling overwhelmed. The keys are to set strict rules about your time and to prioritize your responsibilities. Ferriss gives this advice on his site http://fourhourworkweek.com/2013/11/03/productivity-hacks/:
1) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. What’s most important usually is most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
2) For each item, ask yourself:
– “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
– “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
3) Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.
4) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less-important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
5) TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.
6) If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and go into a downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.
I can personally attest to the successfulness of this method. While I don’t always have two hours to block off, I try to work on one task at a time, starting with the ones that stress me out the most. The lesson here is: do what needs to be done, and the rest will fall into place. (With a little luck.)

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