Simply Walk into Mordor

  • Share This:

Our mountain of tasks won’t erode itself.

But crossing that mountain might seem like an arduous quest, the mountain perpetually casting its dominating shadow over our steps, permeating our days with its sinister, unrelenting weight. It can quickly overwhelm us, rumbling about what needs to be done today, or even just this morning: get the kids ready for school, gas up the car, stop at the store—coffee! We forgot to brew coffee!

Then morning is past, yet the looming shadow continues to haunt our days, whispering warnings of all that must be accomplished today at work, this evening at home—and let’s not forget about next week’s meeting—and what about that appointment we’ve been putting off?

The quest along the menacing mountain of tasks might seem riddled by sudden storms and avalanches. Craig Jarrow, founder of Time Management Ninja, recommends this treacherous terrain be conquered one day at a time. Jarrow explains that by focusing only on what needs to be accomplished today we can outmaneuver the shadow of stress.

Pick from the list of tasks those items that can be handled today and concentrate only on those. Don’t worry about next week’s tasks—we’ll get to them! Jarrow further observes that by supplementing a To-Do List with a Done List, we can readily measure our progress along the mountain.

Saying that we’ll tackle our entire task list in a single day–while optimistic–just isn’t realistic. Build strategy not around time spent on the quest, but around steps taken. Don’t ask “How long did I work on this today?” Ask, “What did I accomplish today?”

In this TED Talk, Strategy Consultant Stephen Duneier explains that our ability to conquer colossal challenges is shaped by our approach. Duneier similarly supports the tactic of divide and conquer. Don’t run at the mountain head-on. Instead, traverse the path with planning and precision–break up the sum of tasks into smaller, more manageable segments.

Today, map out a list of objectives. Organize them by importance or urgency. If we can get many small tasks out of the way today, that might enable us to focus on bigger items tomorrow. Day by day, one step at a time, we’ll reach the mountaintop.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
– Confucius

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

Related Content

post thumbnail
In the Flow of Work
Hiring: Opposites Attract, But Like-Minded Last

The Right Fit How we integrate and interact with the people around us might largely depend on personality, both theirs and ours. This is true in personal relationships as well as professional. Despite the...

post thumbnail
Company News
Odgers Berndtson US and SurePeople Join Forces to Revolutionize Executive Onboarding With Artificial Intelligence (AI), Prism Psychometrics, and World-Class Content by Harvard

NEW YORK, September 26, 2023 ( Odgers Berndtson US and SurePeople are reinventing Executive Onboarding with the launch of a groundbreaking new program leveraging SurePeople’s award-winning platform, powered by the Prism® psychometric algorithm and Harvard...

post thumbnail
In the Flow of Work
Assimilation or Integration?

The Tetris of Onboarding Many organizations and leaders have varying perspectives and practices around team development and recruitment. While some allow for flexibility, congruous with the work-life balance desires of many workers today, others cater...

Man with beard resting head on hand, and a woman in the foreground, both looking up at a presentation.

Insights on People Analytics, Self-Mastery, High-Performance Teams and the Future of Work

Get insights delivered to your inbox.