Too Much To Do, Too Little Energy

I have a long, long list of projects in various stages of completion (or incompletion) that I want to finish. More pressing, I have deadlines for work and clients that cannot be ignored, either. Finally, my wife and I have a house to get ready to sell. Work on our new house can wait… it has to wait.

The projects that must be done first are those for the courses I'm teaching this summer. I have three or four more lectures to outline, stacks of papers to grade, and then there are two more weeks to teach — including final exams and papers. After summer school ends, I also have to develop an editing course for this fall, before mid-August. There's little "free time" for other tasks at the moment.

Like many people, I keep a "to-do list" to help organize myself, but it never seems to shrink. Why is that? Why are my time management skills and whatever plans carefully make insufficient to catch-up with the list?

Of course, the first question to ask is if my "to-do" list has that many rush projects. What is a "must" and what is only a "want" on the list? Working all the time isn't healthy, so setting priorities matters.

Okay, I can't delay school projects. Those deadlines are set by a calendar. I can't push clients aside, because they have deadlines, too. These leaves the things I want to accomplish… and those things keep getting delayed year after year after year.

My blogging schedule, which was supposed to help me post an article to each of my blogs every week, gave way during the last year. Other writing plans also fell apart, despite careful outlines and schedules. My master schedule just didn't seem to work as planned. Moving (twice), losing two pets, starting a new job, and medical issues kept interfering with my plans. Life gets in the way of schedules.

What's really frustrating is that each project on my to-do list should be a full-time job if I ever want to finish anything.

So, how can I cram 48 hours into the 12 to 18 hours I have each day?


  1. The "to do" list never shrinks. It just changes jobs that need to be done.

    One trick I did while in Engineering was to make a time table, fill in the courses, and then fill in when I was going to do what. Sometimes I stuck to it, sometimes something came up, but it was flexible and only a week or so long.

    It's amazing how much time there is, when you lay it out like that.


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