When we are overwhelmed, it helps to simplify and concentrate on the most important.
Over the years, I have come up with the idea that Five Projects are all most people can effectively work on at one time. Yes, I know there are some outliers out there, but most people can be extremely successful with the total number of five active projects.
One way to look and remember this, is by simply looking at one of your hands. Image each finger is a project. So maybe you are now looking down and thinking “I need 2 hands and maybe some feet”. If this is the case write all the projects down on a piece of paper. Then cull the list down to the top 5. These are the ones you can put on your “fingers’.
If it helps, I have uploaded a hand that you can download here – or on my website.
Always remember, however, that five is the number to use. So when you are overwhelmed, get out the hand, and start naming your fingers with the top projects. Select one to work or focus on, and just begin.
This is a best of post of 2010