Feeling Overwhelmed By Too Much To Do
As a coach, I don't recommend many things to my clients. My philosophy is that they will be guided to the system that works best for them. But I can tell you that a common issue I hear a lot in my practice is feeling overwhelmed by too many projects and random tasks, coming at them from many different directions.
Most of the time, when I ask my clients how they capture all these "to-do's," they do not have a system, they just keep it all in their head and hope nothing falls through the cracks. This system might work for you just fine but what I find is that it takes way too much mental energy to keep all this straight in your head. So I help my clients find a system that works well for them
There are a lot of task management systems out there as well as project management software. Since many people have asked me what I use to keep everything accounted for, I decided to post a link to GTDAgenda, the best program I have found to help me implement my go-to organizational system, David Allen's classic book, Getting Things Done. The first step in this system is to collect every unaccounted for task, project, goal or idea that is taking up mental real estate in your brain and put it into a trusted system that you know you will check. I can highly recommend this book to you.
Even if you don't want to use David Allen's system, GTDAgenda is intuitive enough to use on its own as a project management system (or other systems, like Covey, Zen to Done, etc). You first create your overarching goals. Then you create projects that will help you achieve these goals. A project is defined as requiring more than one task to complete it. If you can do it in one task, just get 'er done! Then you add as many tasks as needed under the project. You work on your tasks to complete your projects to fulfill your goals.
I very much appreciate the context element of the GTD system. Other systems use this but call it by different names. Essentially, you want to group your tasks into meaningful categories based on the tools you need around you in order to complete them. If my doctor is running late and his nurse says he'll be in to see me in 10 minutes, then I can call up all my tasks grouped by "Phone Calls." I would not have access to a computer in this instance so I don't need to see those tasks. I can review the calls I need to make and easily determine which ones could take me less than 10 minutes to complete. Then I can mark that call off my list.
GTDAgenda has a nice mobile version which lets me add tasks on the fly, wherever I am. So if I am having coffee with a colleague, I can add a task there. If my partner wants me to do something, I can create a task immediately. Ah, speaking of the "honey-do" lists from our loved ones. I created a unique project called "Projects from Reed." This generates a unique email address for this project that I gave to Reed. This lets him email tasks to me that show up under this project! Every project you create has its own email address. I don't tend to use it because adding tasks to a project is so dang easy with the iPhone app that I use.
The difference this system has made in my life is amazing. I feel calmer and in control more of the time. I encourage you to use this or another system to get back some of the mental energy you are wasting by trying to keep track of everything in your head. That's a terrible use of your brain power.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, I AM an affiliate, and that's an affiliate link you'll be using. I will get a few dollars from your purchase, But I really do believe in it!