In less than 15 minutes, you’ll be on your way to more productive task management.

The holidays can be extremely stressful because there always seem to be more tasks than time. But as you move through the next couple of weeks, do try to take time to enjoy special moments with your family and friends.

Sometimes the key to fighting overwhelm is to get real with what must be done now and put off what can be done later – and that comes down to prioritizing.

Read on for five quick steps to help you prioritize quickly and give yourself a little time back in your day.

Step 1: Take a deep breath.

It can be frustrating to know where to start, even making your to-do list if you’re fighting anxiety all the way through it. Take a few moments to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Try to clear your mind and think of something positive. It could be a word, phrase, prayer, or even imagining the people who love you.

Step 2: Clear off your desk.

A cluttered workspace is a cluttered mind, which further piles on stress. Take at most 10 minutes to clear coffee cups, old notepads, scrap paper, and sticky notes. Do not. I repeat. Do not get sucked down the rabbit hole to where you find yourself two later perusing your 9th-grade yearbooks trying to figure out why you thought that hairstyle was a good idea.

If you have a lot of urgent and important tasks on your mind, and clearing off your desk is something that will take too much time, take yourself and your projects to a new location until you can carve out the time to clear your space.

Step 3: Make a list.

Take out a new piece of paper or turn to a new notebook page. Then quickly jot down the tasks that need to be done – just the names without numbering them. If you’re like me, you have lists everywhere in varying stages of completion, but starting a new list can help clear the mental clutter.

Some people like to put tasks on their to-do lists that are already done so they feel the accomplishment of checking them off. When you’re trying to clear your mind and start fresh, I believe it’s more important to only capture current tasks, kind of like starting a diet on a Monday, leaving the weekend behind.

Step 4: Decide the musts and the shoulds.

With your new list, it’s time to make some tough decisions and decide in what order to tackle tasks. Take a quick look over them all and begin to number them in the order they need to be completed. Don’t fall into the trap of doing what’s easiest, most enjoyable, or fastest.

While some of the tasks are at the point of urgency that they can’t be delegated yet, it’s a good idea to put a star by those to consider delegating in the future. Make note of them now so you can cross-train and pass them on to an empowered team member m during your next slow period.

Step 5: Go forth and conquer!

All right, you’ve now taken 15 minutes to organize your mind, space, and list; it’s time to get started! Try to remove distractions whenever possible. Close extra tabs you’re not using on the computer, turn off phone notifications and close the office door. Try to give yourself at least 50 minutes of uninterrupted time to work on getting tasks done one at a time, distraction-free. Multitasking is a myth, so try to avoid it for at least pockets of time while you try to work on important tasks.

If you’re at the facility and staff are used to coming to you for everything, consider pulling aside your most approachable, seasoned team member and ask them to help answer coworker questions and resolve small issues. Then let the team know you’re working on a tough project that requires more focus than normal. The team can work together to resolve issues, and share the challenges they faced and how they handled things once you emerge.

Use that “catch-up” time wisely. Thank your staff sincerely for their efforts and solutions and give them feedback on alternative resolutions for future reference where necessary. And take note of additional training and empowerment opportunities you find for your next training or meeting.

These quick tips can help jumpstart your productivity while keeping anxiety at bay. Good luck and happy holidays!

How do you fight the frustration of too much work and not enough time? Share them below!


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