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The Free-Time Formula by Jeff Sanders

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4Knowing What to Do Next: Triage

Put yourself in this scenario.

It is Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., you just clocked in for the day and have a hot cup of coffee in hand. You sit down at your desk, and you realize a storm is brewing. There is a mountain of work to do.

Your email inbox is overflowing with messages, your phone is already blowing up with texts and calls, your calendar is overbooked, and there is a line at your door of customers, coworkers, and comanagers who need to talk to you.

What are you going to do next? How do you make that decision? You have a lot to do, and this is not a new scenario. You are a busy person and frequently find yourself flooded with more stuff than anyone could manage at one time, let alone a single day, week, or month.

The work just never ends. Your mind becomes clogged with questions that are devoid of clear answers.

  • What is my next best move?
  • What is my most important priority?
  • What needs my attention right now?
  • What can I let go of?
  • What can I postpone?
  • What can I eliminate forever?
  • How can I not drown in this sea of pandemonium?

Fortunately, you do have many options—some are better than others, but something has to be done to address these repeated chaotic conditions.

  1. Do nothing. Freeze. Check Facebook. Avoid the work altogether. Hope someone else solves the chaos for you.
  2. Pick something at random and go. Get started immediately so that you feel accomplished by checking tasks off your to‐do list.
  3. Let your habits kick in. Do whatever you ...

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