Sometimes you don’t foresee the workload that crashes down on you. Other times a simple error in judgment can put you in a time crunch. I wrote the following cheat sheet to help me prioritize while working on edits for my novel, DawnSinger, I offer the system I developed to simplify my existence.
- To start, offload as many priorities as you can, even ones you think you can’t. It takes humility to ask for grace. Embrace humility.
- Make a Master List that breaks your priorities into manageable chunks. Include both work and personal priorities. Make sure to build a little margin into this list. In my case, I don’t work on weekends unless I haven’t met all my daily goals for the week.
- Each day, take a piece of paper and divide it into columns with a line down the middle. Now, list your work priorities on one side and your personal priorities on the other. Keep these lists as simple as possible. Make sure you have reasonable expectations of what you can do in a day. If not, revisit step #1.
- Assign a number to prioritize each goal on both lists. You may want to accomplish all your work goals first, and then move to personal goals (or vice versa). Or you may want to go back and forth between lists. It’s up to you.
- Take brief mental rests and/or give yourself a reward whenever you accomplish a goal. If you’ve been sitting, get up and move around. Refresh your water glass or brew a cup of tea. Splash water on your face or step outside for a breath of fresh air to revive yourself.
- Get enough sleep, even if you don’t accomplish everything you planned in a day. Since you’ve prioritized your tasks, you will have accomplished the most important items first.
- Do only what you have to do. Schedule time to catch up after the current crisis settles.
Don’t forget that even when the wheels of time turn mercilessly onward, holding onto your sense of humor keeps your emotions on a more-even keel and makes you more pleasant to others.