How to Handle Having TOO MUCH To Do
So let’s say you’re in the same boat I am (this is a running theme, have you noticed?) and you’ve just got, like, SO MUCH STUFF that HAS to get done YESTERDAY or you will DIE (or fail/get fired/mope). Everything needs to be done yesterday, you’re sick, and for whatever reason you are focusing on the least important stuff first. What to do!
Take a deep breath, because this is a boot camp in prioritization.
- Make a 3 by 4 grid. Make it pretty big. The line above your top row goes like this: Due YESTERDAY - due TOMORROW - due LATER. Along the side, write: Takes 5 min - Takes 30 min - Takes hours - Takes DAYS.
- Divide ALL your tasks into one of these squares, based on how much work you still have to do. A thank you note for a present you received two weeks ago? That takes 5 minutes and was due YESTERDAY. Put it in that square. A five page paper that’s due tomorrow? That takes an hour/hours, place it appropriately. Tomorrow’s speech you just need to rehearse? Half an hour, due TOMORROW. Do the same for ALL of your tasks
- Your priority goes like this:
- 5 minutes due YESTERDAY
- 5 minutes due TOMORROW
- Half-hour due YESTERDAY
- Half-hour due TOMORROW
- Hours due YESTERDAY
- Hours due TOMORROW
- 5 minutes due LATER
- Half-hour due LATER
- Hours due LATER
- DAYS due YESTERDAY
- DAYS due TOMORROW
- DAYS due LATER
- At this point you just go down the list in each section. If something feels especially urgent, for whatever reason - a certain professor is hounding you, you’re especially worried about that speech, whatever - you can bump that up to the top of the entire list. However, going through the list like this is what I find most efficient.
- Some people do like to save the 5 minute tasks for kind of a break between longer-running tasks. If that’s what you want to try, go for it! You’re the one studying here.
So that’s how to prioritize. Now, how to actually do shit? That’s where the 20/10 method comes in. It’s simple: do stuff like a stuff-doing FIEND for 20 minutes, then take a ten minute break and do whatever you want. Repeat ad infinitum. It’s how I’ve gotten through my to do list, concussed and everything.
You’ve got this. Get a drink and start - we can do our stuff together!