It happens to all of us. And allowing yourself to even have that feeling is part of the problem, in itself.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “the idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management.”
The article goes on to say, “Once we admit that we aren’t going to get it all done, we’re in a much better position to make explicit choices about what we are going to do. Instead of letting things haphazardly fall through the cracks, we can intentionally push the unimportant things aside and focus our energy on the things that matter most (emphasis mine).”
We think we can do the little things first
See, when you think you’ll be able to get it all done, you do the little things first, to get them out of the way. Pretty soon you’ve run out of time and haven’t done a thing to further your big objectives — right?
So here’s an exercise to try: give yourself a ridiculous time limit, and say that’s all the time you have to meet an important goal. Like: you have Martians interested in buying your company for $2 billion, and their spaceship is landing in two hours. (Go on, try it.)
Quickly survey everything that’s on your plate — what would you absolutely positively have to do in those two hours to make sure you could report that your company is doing important things?
You can let the unimportant things go
Then do only those things today (even though there are no Martians who want to buy your company), and let the rest go.
At the end of the day, you will have made progress towards your big goals. And some of the little unimportant things will have gone undone. (Notice how little that matters, too.)
And who knows when that $2 billion offer to buy your business is going to come, or where it’s going to come from?
It’s best to be prepared :)