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How do you Cope with Chaos?

October 28, 2019

Does this sounds familiar?  You're plugging along one morning at work, then all sorts of action items start to hit your desk.  Emails, voicemails, and even paper are coming at you from all directions.  Once the level of work starts to pile up enough, it feels chaotic.  Your mind starts to feel overwhelmed and you can't focus on how to proceed.  If you don't have a strategy to deal with this, then you need to come up with one.  Here's my go to move to deal with this:


I take an immediate step back from doing any of the work and I get organized.  I label all my activities with a capital I or a small i and a capital T or small t.; using the the following:


  • Important - Items that are important (Capital "I")

  • Time - Items that will take more than 15 minutes (Capital "T")

  • important - items that are not important (small "i")

  • time - items that take less than 15 minutes (small "t")


Once I have organized everything into the 4 buckets above, I start to plan.


  • Items with I and T - Determine the time it will take, then put it on the calendar

  • Items with I and t - Do immediately - Within the next couple of days (sooner if possible)

  • Items with i and T - Ask myself, on each item: Should I do this?

  • Items with i and t - Do after the important items are done


After this exercise, I feel more in control.  Now I can get back to work!


PS. That's a picture of a coping saw.  A very handy tool also.

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