When that heaping mound of work in front of you seems insurmountable, workload paralysis may set in. Your instinct: Procrastinate by surfing the Web.
Move past your feelings of workload paralysis and get back on track with these tips:
• Finish something. Pick a task that you can do quickly and mark off your to-do list, or tackle your most difficult task first. Just complete something. That will give your confidence a boost and build your momentum.
• Take a few minutes to prioritize. Figure out what you absolutely must do now to keep your job, avoid a huge problem and so on. Then focus exclusively on your top priority until it is complete. Keep that going until all your urgent tasks are done.
• Focus on progress. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all, so just get started. For example, spend 20 minutes on research, take 10 minutes to sketch out a plan, pull all the paperwork you need. Even if you can’t complete an entire task at once, make it easier to tackle when you do come back to it.
• Catalog your accomplishments. Take some time at the end of each day to review all of the work you did complete. It will keep your spirits up, even in the face of a burgeoning workload.
• Take care of yourself. You may be tempted to give up sleep, exercise and healthy eating so that you can cover your workload. Don’t. You’ll just end up sick and stressed out, both of which hurt your productivity.
— Adapted from “How to Put an End to Workload Paralysis,” Belle Beth Cooper.