Sometimes, life gets so overwhelming that it's hard to stay on top of it all. It's one thing to commit to more projects than you can handle. That's bad planning and entirely under your control. It's a very different problem, however, when circumstances around you change so much that you end up with way more things fighting for your time and attention than you can realistically provide.
If you're like me, you have a system that keeps you sane. Maybe a task management application, your calendar, a bunch of post it notes, or a combination of things. Somewhere where you keep your projects and tasks organised so you know what you need to, or can, be doing at any given time.
But when the shit truly hits the fan, as they say, you often need to jump straight into firefighting mode and attend to the immediate issue. And then the next. And the next. And very quickly you realise you've neglected your system and have no idea what's going on.
Overdue items shout for attention. Due items start to create pressure. An inbox left unprocessed collects too many items that quickly start to rot. In no time, the noise becomes so much that it's impossible to decide what is truly urgent, so it's easier to just shut down and ignore everything except for the loudest thing in front of you.
My system revolves around OmniFocus and this is exactly what I've been through lately. Today I opened OmniFocus for the first time in 5 weeks and this is what it looks like:
The past 6 weeks or so have been tough. I've had multiple work and personal commitments. Things out of my control have happened and I've struggled to keep track of everything I need to do and is expected of me. It's happened before.
I dropped the ball on more things than I care to admit. Sadly, work was loudest and what I neglected was mostly personal stuff. It's not a good feeling.
Today I decided it was enough. I can't run around chasing the thing that screams at me the loudest. I need to focus on what actually matters. And the only way to know what matters is to stop, look at the big picture, think, and plan. I need to do my weekly review. Now.