Manage Tasks Under Fire

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I write about personal productivity quite a bit. What I don’t do often enough is talk about how much I truly suck at it. The day job has been real busy lately. A looming jury trial and a colleague’s vacation have combined into a perfect storm of anarchy in my life. The last three days I’ve been putting out fires, and completely ignoring my OmniFocus data while watching the unread email multiply like rabbits.

Finally, this afternoon I shut the door, put the calls on hold, and did what I knew in my guts had to be done. I got caught up. I sorted and processed emails. I prioritized and adjusted projects. All in all, it took about an hour and a half. Several of my projects have been pushed back but at least they are done so under my terms. Of course in doing this I found several time bombs which I was able defuse in their last seconds. I am so much less stressed now that I have a handle on what I’m up against and amazed at how quickly things can descend into chaos when you don’t pay attention.

This whole exercise of falling off the wagon and getting back on reinforces something for me. When you have the least amount of time available for keeping track of your projects and tasks is precisely when you need to stop and do it the most. In other words, when the chips are down, you really need to suck it up.

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