Pick something and go July 20, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, papers, research, work.
Tags: overwhelmed, papers, priorities, research
I wrote up a list of things I need to be dealing with at work. While it was helpful for me to have a list to reference, it was also rather disheartening. I came up with over 10 things, and all but three were fairly sizable goals, like writing a paper.
I was rather overwhelmed, but happened to think about GMPs recent post on writing in a crunch. Her method was to break things down into bite-size chunks until the project was done. But what do you do when you have half a dozen big projects at the same time? I guess I tried to take a similar approach.
The thing is, I’m not in a huge time crunch to get most of this stuff done, but if I try to tackle several of these things at once, I’m fairly certain that none of them will get done, ever. So I picked off the easy things that I can work on here and there or that have definite deadlines (those first three). Of the 7 remaining items, I prioritized the ones that would be easiest to finish as well as providing the least amount of conflict in terms of computational resources with my current projects. I decided to just focus on the first one until I get to a point where I can’t work any more. Once I reach that point, I’ll shift to the second on the list until I can get back to the first or it gets finished.
I KNOW I can’t multitask well (or even passably, for that matter). The problem is that there are still these six other things that are sitting there, and it makes me uneasy to not even touch them. There’s this little voice that says, “If you don’t work on it now, you might NEVER get to it.” It’s really an irritating voice because it fails to recognize that I can only work on one thing at a time, and I’ll be more productive if I can maintain some decent focus. It also fails to recognize that there is a significant reduction in stress every time I can cross one of those things off my list entirely. And even if I start working on three or four of them, there are some that will have to get left behind as well. There is just no way to work on all of them simultaneously.
I wish I knew where that little voice came from and why it doesn’t listen to reason. Somehow I keep feeling like I could convince it that this is the sane approach. Instead, the best I can do for now is to ignore it.
How do you deal with things when they seem overwhelming?