When I get to that point of chronic work overload, there are certain things I say to myself:
1. Make a list. Not lists. One’s enough.
2. Do the tasks in the order in which they’re needed. As a plan, it almost always works.
3. Try not to panic. Act calm. Walk deliberately slowly.
4. Try not to complain either. Nobody likes a moaner.
5. Write shorter everythings - emails, charts, briefs, blogs, everything. The funny thing is it often makes them better.
6. Always re-read emails before sending them. That ‘I’m so busy’ tone can easily slip into ‘I’m also a bit abrupt.
7. If people ask, tell them you’re busy. Nobody wants to eat in an empty restaurant.
8. Get some sleep. Eight hours. You need it.
9. Get up, move around, go for a walk. Don’t get stuck. A thirty-minute mind-emptying stroll can be more productive than an eight hour stint at a desk.
10. Don’t stray from your core beliefs. Being in the eye of the storm is no time to let go of your rudder.
11. If you absolutely have to, say no. It’s the hardest thing to do but sometimes it has to be done. You’ll lose their project, but you might well earn their respect.
12. Keep going. It could go quiet before you know it.
13. Don’t have more than twelve items on your list. It’s bad luck.