When you have so much to do that nothing gets done

Sometimes, there are so many things to do that it seems impossible to do any of it. You want to, but everything’s just blocked and every day that goes by just adds to the pressure.

It’s a bit like having a hundred people trying to squeeze through a narrow doorway at the same time. The more they push, the harder it is for anyone to get through.

In this analogy, the best solution is to form a queue and let people through calmly, one at a time.

The same can work for work; by focusing on just one thing at a time, you can dedicate all your mental energy to the task at hand.

To do this effectively, you need to stay with the task even if it’s difficult. Don’t switch to working on something else just because it’s difficult. That way, you can actually solve some of the problems that arise, rather than saving them up for later.

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See also:

What to do when your PhD project gets too big

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12 thoughts on “When you have so much to do that nothing gets done

  1. Dr James Hayton ,am a proud Doctor of Philosophy in Project planning and management graduate after bumping onto your article on PhD: an uncommon guide to research, writing & PhD life and How to do a PhD in 3 months.Have been reading your articles and recommended them to my friends in the world of academia .Thank you.Keep it up .

  2. This is very timely piece of advice Dr. Hayton you have given. I think this shall stand in a good stead for completing ones Ph.D. Similar thought provoking advice shall be quite useful.

  3. Thank you Dr, you are heaven sent as I have been avoiding the most challenging part of my study for weeks now and was about to leave the library for home. Reading this posts and seeing that I’m not the only one going through this challenge then restores my hopes to even fight harder. I am now back in the game. Thank you once again!

  4. Dr. Hayton,
    Where were these words of wisdom 2 weeks ago when my Methodologist declared my study to not be a case study but a descriptive study and pretty much told me to start over, in not so gentle words? Do you have an article on how to get through this project when it appears the goal posts keep moving.

  5. This is a very timely post for me to read. I’ve been switching between the different sections of my thesis rather than taking a more methodical approach. It’s been a very unproductive couple of weeks. I’ll try and do one thing at a time and see how this helps.

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