How to Prioritize When You’re Cramped with Time

How to Prioritize When You're Cramped in Time | This is my really simple three-step priority plan when I’m cramped with time and the deadlines monsters are looming over, reducing me into a crying potato.

Drowning in a sea of tasks to do and turning into a crying potato because of it…

crying potato

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? (I mean, unless you’re a newborn infant, you lucky baby you. Also you must be some baby prodigy if you can read this.)

I’m sure others have only experienced it every once in a while (and I’m amazed at your time management skills, you awesome person!) But there are people out there who, like me, constantly feel like we can’t come to grasp with time. In my case, it would always reach to the point where I’m that pathetic crying potato up there.

Related: What to Do When Your Work Has Piled Up

So what do I do when I’m on the verge of being drowned by millions of tasks to do? I prioritize.

Now, just to get it out there, what you’ll be reading below are things that were effective for me. I don’t want to claim that these are the Main Gospels of Time Management because they’re not and we’re all different people. Take these steps with a grain of salt and I hope you get something from them! 😀

How to Prioritize When You're Cramped in Time | This is my really simple three-step priority plan when I’m cramped with time and the deadlines monsters are looming over, reducing me into a crying potato.

Make a list of what you need to do

You know all those horrible tasks that are looming over you and about to fall down on you and drown you along with the imminent tears of agony? For me, I only need one sword to conquer these scary looming tasks.

Pen. Translation: I write them down.

There’s something reassuring about having things written down. I feel like the mess is manageable and easy to conquer when I do that. Well, that’s me, of course. You don’t even have to go super specific. Just write what you need to accomplish.

For example, here’s a kinda fictional kinda real example. (It’s real because this happened, and it’s fictional because it happened last month and I’m done with these.) By listing out the projects and tasks that I need to accomplish, I now have at least a grasp on all of them.

Write task - Prioritize and Meet Deadlines

Also, you ever get that feeling that if it’s only in your mind, they feel more daunting and stressful than they actually are?

Write their deadlines, if they have one

This is the ultimate cause of all the work overload woes of many people, me included. Deadlines, especially those that are still pretty far away from when the task or project was given, give procrastinators (points at self) a reason to… well, procrastinate.

These deadly deadlines make a comeback as looming giants that can pull out all your tear ducts. I would know, I’ve been there. Many times.

And so, like the terrible tasks that these deadly deadlines gave birth to, pen is your good ol’ reliable sword.

You may be thinking right now, does writing them down really work? It does for me. And Kelsier did it when he and his crew were planning to usurp the Lord Ruler in The Final Empire. I’m not sure if they succeeded since I’m still far from half of the book. (And if you’ve read it, please don’t tell me, I don’t need spoilers.)

What I am sure is this: writing down the deadlines you will face makes it easier to figure out how to get past them.

Also: You can put a scared emoji and exclamation points to emphasize urgency 😉

Divide them into small achievable chunks

Now that you know the monsters you’ll be facing, you have to break them down into achievable chunks. I mean, it’s good to write “Finish editing a 25-minute documentary in five days” but does that make the task less intimidating and something you would be motivated work on? For most people, no. (It sure didn’t when I wrote that last month.)

The goal of writing down the tasks at hand and their deadlines is to make them seem more manageable. Dividing will make them something you can actually accomplish. Remember: small progress is far better than no progress at all.

So with the documentary example, let’s say you can finish five to seven minutes a day. By the fifth day, you’ll be done. Five to seven minutes a day seem less scary and more achievable, no?

Bonus: In case of needing a push, think of a motivating mantra

Now, this is a pretty simple three-step thing here. But it’s not as easy to execute. Motivation can be scarce and you can lose motivation quite fast. Which is why having a motivating mantra or anything that so you’ll keep moving forward really is important.

What do you do when deadlines are looming over? I’d love to know your thoughts or any advice!

Have an awesome weekend, awesome peeps!

12 Replies to “How to Prioritize When You’re Cramped with Time”

  1. Oh, yes, for some reason when I write all my tasks down, it feels much less! Also it helps me remember EVERYTHING I need to do because HAHAHA I FORGET. XD And chunking it into little pieces is really helpful (even though I just try to finish it all at once haha). Great post, Kate! <3

  2. Omg this was awesome! XD Setting deadlines is an awesome idea! And I loved the emojis you drew, they’re so cute!! And they actually work!! And I love when you wrote “less than 14 minutes, ey? 😀 ”
    I loved this post!! I’m gonna try those tips out!!! 🙂

    1. Hahaha thank you Anna! I’m so happy you enjoyed reading this and find them helpful 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. No problem!! XD <3 XD

  3. lol I love the crying potato image. I feel like a total crying potato lately. 😛
    You’re so right. There really is something reassuring about writing a to-do list. And small victories are totally better than no victories, just as you said. A triumph is still a triumph, no matter how small. 😀

    1. I feel like I become a crying potato at least once a year xD Hopefully you’ll be a happy potato soon!
      I love how you summarize my posts and highlight some lines and make them more insightful than I could possibly create. Thank you so much, awesome!

      1. Aw, thanks! 🙂
        I love your posts. I always find your posts insightful and inspiring. ^_^

  4. I love you advice-posts! Thank you for sharing and helping your readers! ♡

    1. Thank you for reading them as well! I’m so glad you love my advice-posts 🙂

  5. I needed this! So good. Thank you, Kate!

    1. Thank you so much!

  6. Thank you very much! 😀

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