How often do you create To-do lists? How often do you get to the end of the week feeling exhausted from the amount of work you’ve completed yet when you check your list you’ve not actually crossed anything off? It happens. I mean we’re all terrible of focusing on the small tasks over the big ones, creating more lists and forgetting the previous ones and becoming so sidetracked you start to fall behind. What if you didn’t feel so behind and we’re actually making progress? Sure there’s going to be days where that seems impossible but there are also going to be days where you have so much motivation you can set yourself up to not be so behind. Here’s what I’d recommend…
Break down the deadlines. My planner is constantly a reminder of all my deadlines yet some days I avoid looking at it and try to hide away from them. They can feel too impossible, too big or just too small they don’t matter but having the sense of lost deadlines and not having a clear agenda, it can be easy for us to completely ignore them or leave them until the last minute. However, just a simple breakdown of a deadline may just be the answer. In blogging, I have a certain amount of blogs that I need to create weekly, images to take, social media to schedule and analysis to report and for my PR & Social Media role, I have press releases to write, reports to create and content to schedule amongst a lot of things and when you look at it as a whole it can seem too much of a big project but chipping away at it daily and breaking it down into smaller chucks can be done within an hour or two of my day. That’s more like it right?
I try to commit to doing things daily without the massive pressure looming over and having the sense that more is being ticked off than usual gives me the reassurance that it’s reachable. So for example, I will take one session to write the content, another session to take the images, one session doing the reporting and another session doing all the managing, keeping on trends and getting my processes in order to get ahead and by the time the deadline starts looming, I’ve already done it.
Set smaller tasks as usual. So you’ve been procrastinating for days and don’t know where to start and feel like you’ve done nothing – I’m right there with you. Whenever I get back into my ‘I’ve lost my mind’ mode, I start small by doing my brain dump process and making sure I plan my week. This allows me to start again and determine the smaller tasks, you know the ones, the ones you fly through and seem so much easier to do, those ones! Replying to all of your emails, editing content, reporting social media activity from the day before. Most of the time I prefer to tackle the bigger projects as everything else seems like a walk in the park but also having a balance of completing smaller tasks allows you to not have a build up of work and it still feels like you’ve accomplished something which essentially motivates you more into doing those horrible big ones. If you find that you’re struggling with your current tasks, then they’re still too big and need to be broken down further.
As I’ve mentioned in my last point, breaking your bigger projects into little ones allows you to evaluate and prioritise your workload whilst efficiently getting them completed.
Take a break. If you’ve got this far and you’re already doing everything I’m saying and still nothing works then take a break. A few months ago I would happily work through my lunch, stay a little behind and even do work on the weekends and even then I wasn’t getting much done and it all comes down to overloading your brain with too much work and not having much space for anything else. Although it can seem a little odd taking a break when you’ve got nothing finished – or started – but allowing yourself to take a step back can again allow you to evaluate and prioritise your workload. I found having regular breaks gave me the breathing space to think, not think for a while and when it comes to diving back in, I was more motivated and refreshed to start again.