History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

When Busy Turns to Juggling Knives

I’m currently working on a lot of projects, some of which I haven’t even had time to mention on this blog. This has taken me from being busy (my normal state) to a point very near to what I like to call “juggling knives.” I use the phrase in the context of it being a dangerous thing, and it’s something I have to be careful to watch out for, because for me, going beyond busy into “juggling knives” territory is a quick route to being overwhelmed and then burned out.

One of my tactics for dealing with juggling knives is making a lot of lists–more lists than normal, because as I get busier, my memory tends to lose track of things. So having lists means I can make sure everything gets done. I also start breaking out the lists by day. I already do a lot of scheduling based on days of the week, but as my busy-ness increases into larger projects, sometimes it’s a matter of needing to set aside a specific chunk of time to just knock one of those larger projects out. For me, knowing when I’ll get around to doing something allows me to put it a little farther out of my mind, since I know that I will be getting to it, on the day I’ve scheduled it for.

I’ve also found a lot of value in keeping track of what I have done, as well as what I need to do. Because when there’s a whole lot going on, I can spend a good chunk of a day working, but feel like I haven’t accomplished much because there are still so many things that aren’t done yet. By making a list of what I’ve gotten done, I have a visible way to say “oh yeah, I did stuff.”

Finally, sometimes I just have to remind myself that I don’t have to do everything at the same time. I have very few solid deadlines, and even fewer deadlines that are externally imposed. So that means that there are some things that I can move off of my immediate priority list and onto a secondary priority list, freeing up space (and brain power) for the more pressing items.

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