Many of us overload our workdays, only to find ourselves facing an unfinished to-do list at the end of the day. How can you break free of this magical thinking that causes you to disappoint others, miss deadlines, feel depleted, and lose your inspiration?
To get a realistic sense of how long your current and future projects will take to complete (and how to prioritize them), start by reviewing your major projects from the past year. Which were planned and which were opportunistic? This self-audit will help you paint a more realistic picture of how your future calendar will be populated. It will also help you prioritize the top of your to-do list and renegotiate the rest by saying no, lowering expectations, or requesting help.
Crucially, you need to stop convincing yourself that next time will be easier. This kind of optimism may be misguided, leaving you at risk of falling short. Always lean toward building in more time for your work, not less.
Finally, look for opportunities to build your team’s capacity, and delegate when you can. You don’t need to go it alone.