Skip to content

Cope | Fend | Hack | Get a Grip—Part 2

Not that this would ever happen to you, but sometimes I find myself with some project that really needs doing, that has needed doing for a while now, and that just won’t get done.

9-10 Messy Stack

Part 2 | Hopelessly Behind? Catch Up Anyway

The fix: catch up with a (2+1)✕5 Schedule (your numbers may vary).

For this fix to work, we’re looking for a project that takes a number of hours to complete. Or it might take days or months. Here are some examples:

  • Launch your new blog or revamp an old one
  • Write a report, paper, article, book
  • Get that Level 3 evaluation done
  • Catch up on filing
  • Prepare your taxes
  • Get the spring cleaning done

To figure out how to carve out time to do bigger projects in the midst of busy days, I sat down with my journal. I wrote out a list of the general types of things that need doing (for example, work, rest, exercise), and I considered the number of hours in a day.

Here’s the fix (which can, of course, be flexed to fit your project, schedule, and preferences):

  1. IF you are behind on (or even anticipating) a project
  2. AND you have decided to catch up (or get it done before the last minute)
  3. AND you have other things that also must be done (or they’ll be behind, too)
  4. THEN schedule 2 hours plus 1 hour of time on your calendar every day (or for 3 to 6 days a week) until the blessed project is done.

I used this fix to clear up a backlog of stuff I wasn’t getting to—without it taking over my days. Here’s what worked for me (with adjustments, as needed for client meetings or calls):

  1. 2 hours in the morning: 8:00 to 10:00
  2. 1 hour after lunch: 1:00 to 2:00
  3. 5 days a week

But, what if it’s a personal project, and you have to work during business hours? Here’s one possible schedule:

  1. 1 hour (or more, depending) after dinner, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday
  2. 3 hours Saturday morning
  3. 1 hour Saturday afternoon

If you’d rather work early in the morning than after dinner, then you could add an hour or 90 minutes of project work to your morning routine, plus some time on the weekend.

This is flexible, yes, but the key is to schedule time that you protect as much as is reasonable. You can develop a habit of working on longer-term tasks and projects during set times, leaving the rest of your days for everything else.

Now I keep a list of bigger tasks and projects to slot into my “catch up” time.

One benefit is a sense of peace. Instead of bothering myself over things I’m not doing right now, I know that working my (2+1)✕5 Schedule will take care of getting things done that just need doing.


Post | Cope | Fend | Hack | Get a Grip—Part 1

Post | Journal Me This

Disclosure: Some links on this site are “affiliate links,” which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something.