My to-do list currently has 28 items on it (and that's huge improvement from the 70+ I had a few months ago, before I decided to cut out the non-essentials). Just looking at the thing stresses me out.
Everybody is busy, and it's very easy to get a feeling of being overwhelmed and panicking. It happens to all of us, and I certainly get it from time to time as well.
Obviously I can't do all of those items in 1 day. That's where I try and use planning to get through. I try to split up projects into manageable parts. Having a constant reminder for a project of "in 7 days I need to do this, in 14 days I need to do this, ..." stresses me out and is unnecessary. Whenever I get a bigger project now, I divide it into parts and plan those in. I then open my calender and plan it in. Then, as time passes, I see for example: today I need to do part A. Next week, I'll see I need to get part B. I don't need to constantly see everything that's coming: I just need to get done what should get done today. (I recently started using the 17 hats software for this, recommended by Dan Salcumbe)
Same goes for emails: I try to end the day with an empty inbox. Emails I cannot answer today, get snoozed to a later day. Having them just standing there, unopened, stresses me out and gives me a feeling of not being "finished" for the day. The feeling of having an empty inbox is the best in the world.
Last but not least: starting every day with some breathing exercises and ending it with a cold shower (Wim Hof Method, thanks Tom Stijven and Dirk Janssens) helps me stay focussed. I highly recommend it to anyone since it's not only very simple, but also does not take up a lot of time.
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