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February 7, 2024 4 mins

Writing down future tasks makes them feel less overwhelming

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning,
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is to try to get it all down. If

(00:22):
you feel like you have a million things going on,
spend a little bit of time capturing as many of
those things as you can and writing them down somewhere.
You will start to get a better sense of what
is actually on your plate and what needs to be
done now and what can wait for later. So, if

(00:43):
you are managing multiple projects or managing work and a household,
the sheer volume of tasks can start to feel overwhelming.
You will be thinking of one thing, like I need
to fill out those tax forms, and then you will
remember that you need to set up that physical therapy
appointment and maybe get an extra bookcase for that room

(01:05):
where stuff is just piled up. Also, it would be
good to reach out to Bob about whether he's going
to that conference next fall. Jen asked you to look
over that article she's submitted to your industry journal, and
when did you last go to the dentist. It is
true that eventually every task needs a time, but sometimes

(01:25):
the swirling mess of impending tasks makes it hard to
prioritize what needs to be done now, what needs to
be done soon, and what needs to be done at
some point, but it's not truly pressing. In order to
figure out a plan for all of this, and to
keep it from popping into your brain unannounced, it helps

(01:46):
to get it all down somewhere. I like to think
of this as a brain dump. Take a few minutes
to write down every pending task you can think of.
You will probably have to come back to this list
a few times during the day because more things will
occur to you. So just keep this list open in
a notebook or an electronic document and keep adding to it.

(02:10):
Devotees of David Allen sometimes call this a someday maybe
list things you might need to get to at some
point but you're not exactly sure when. When you've captured
a lot of it, the list will look daunting, but
that is okay. This is not your daily to do list.
It is just a list of potential tasks that you

(02:32):
could do, or might want to do, or should do
at some point. Go ahead and accept the length life
is complicated. Then go through and figure out which ones
truly do need to be done very soon. These deserve
time on your calendar in the next few days. But

(02:53):
and I kind of think this is the fun part.
You can then also choose one to two things that
are not pressing and might be kind of citing or
motivational to add to your list. Go ahead and order
that extra bookcase. Email Bob about the conference, because hey,
you like Bob and you'd like to hear from him,
even if the conference isn't for quite a while. There

(03:16):
is some pretty good evidence that happiness at work is
associated with a sense of progress. It feels good to
cross things off the list. As you start pulling some
of these nice to do things off the list, it
will feel shorter and you will feel more motivated. Plus

(03:38):
you won't forget the stuff that truly does have to happen.
You will have a source list for creating your daily
and weekly to do lists, and that can make you
feel much more on top of things. In the meantime.
This is Laura, Thanks for listening, and here's to making

(03:58):
the most of our time. Thanks for listening to before Breakfast.
If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback, you can reach
me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast

(04:22):
is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts from iHeartMedia,
please visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you
listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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