I wanted to organise my life better. I have the problem of starting a multitude of projects but finishing only a fraction of them. As my roles increase in both quantity and diversity, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain track of all the endeavours I’ve undertaken.
I undertake a myriad of roles in various organisations. Graphic Design is a common thing I do for most of these groups. Some tasks I undertake involve payment, but most of them are important (honorary) jobs.
I pick up several design projects. Common stuff include posters, and social media posts, which take a maximum of one-sitting to get most of the work completed. Other rare, but paid and high-effort tasks involve making logos, branding, single-use print items like menus, brochures, shirt designs and so on.
And this is just for design: a hobby. My main job as a student is to study and complete all my assignments in time, keep my lab files ready, ensure I maintain a minimum attendance and so on. It frequently becomes stressful, even without the duties I perform as the General Secretary of a Club.
It is an understatement if someone states that I seem to have a lot on my plate. But I consider this better than having nothing to do at all, idling away my time in base, meaningless activities hardly affect the society, let alone be positive. It is imperative that I seek balance in my daily schedule. I know that I cannot do everything all the time. So I need to prioritise and allocate chunks of my time to tasks.
The act of goal-setting
Sometimes, a goal seems too abstract or too cumbersome. I feel this regularly and I suppose most of you do too. The way to deal with this is to convert the end goal to manageable, actionable tasks. Here’s a method that I follow:
- Write the end goal prominently so it never gets out of sight.
- Think of pre-requisites to that goal. It doesn’t matter if the steps seem too big or too trivial. In the former case, we can subdivide it into smaller tasks; in the latter, we can assimilate it into a larger task along with several others.
- After you sketch out all the steps into reasonable sizes, assign time slots to them the moment you have some time in your hands. Make reasonable allotments so you may finish the tasks comfortably while having a little room to spare. You can choose the atomicity to be 30 minutes (for small-medium tasks) or an hour (longer tasks).
- Stick as close as possible to the schedule while ensuring that the ticking clock does not haunt you in the back of your mind. Rushed work might pay off in the short term, but it is not a good habit.
That’s my general strategy to get my work done. The number of tasks varies daily for me because the time that I get varies too. I made the steps as general as possible (as Mathematicians do) so that anyone can apply this plan to their own schedule while it’s functional enough to get real work done.
Let me know what you guys think of this algorithm. Suggestions and comments are always welcome!
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