So many tasks, so little time. Here’s where to start! – Pick Dave’s Brain

This week’s question comes from Laura.

Q: It feels like I have too many tasks. On one hand there’s my email inbox. Then there’s my notebook, then there’s my long to-do list. I have so many things. Please advise me on how to progress.

Click to tweet this: Is your workload at capacity? Expand your horizons! Put off till tomorrow what doesn’t need doing today.

What do you do when you have more to do than you have time to do it in?

This week’s question comes from Laura:

Hello Dave! My name is Laura from Nigeria. So, I just did Time Management Fundamentals. I literally just finished it tonight. I put together a list of to-dos and I guess it’s like a gathering point for me. But I don’t know what to do with it now because it feels like I have too many tasks.

On one hand there’s my email inbox. Then there’s my notebook, then there’s this gathering point. I have so many things. So please just advise me on how to progress.

Thank you!


Hi Laura. This is an interesting question.

Often when people first go through my Time Management Fundamentals course, they’re confronted with the truth. The truth is that there are only twenty-four hours a day, there’s only seven days a week, and there’s only one you.

This is a big problem when you gather everything into one spot. You see all those emails, all those tasks that you’ve been telling yourself you need to do, and suddenly you realize there’s simply more to do than you have time to do it in.

The first thing that I would recommend is that you expand your horizon. What I mean by this is most people think only in terms of what they can accomplish in the next fourteen days. Instead, start to think about what you can accomplish over the next two years. And when you process things, spread them out, distribute them. Ask yourself “What is the longest that I can take to complete this task?” And procrastinate in a positive way.

Now regarding that big list of all those things that you need to do, I am going to give you the right answer. It may not be an answer you like, but here it is—you need to process all of those items one at a time.

This is the process that I had to go through when I created this Time Management program. It’s the process that every single person has to go through.

When you go through every item one at a time, you are conditioning your brain. You’re getting in the habit of looking at every item in your gathering points and asking “what is the next step, when will it be done, where is its home”. And you are cultivating a mental muscle memory of doing that over and over. It will get faster over time but there are no shortcuts.

So you might need to schedule extra processing time for the first month or two. Maybe instead of five hours a week, you process for ten hours a week until you finally get to the bottom of that pile.

But I can promise you that when you get to the bottom, it’s an amazing feeling. You feel liberated because you’ll realize that there’s nothing behind you. You don’t have to catchup anymore. There’s only staying on top on what’s in front of you.

Thanks for the question, Laura!

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