Call it rapid-tasking — it's not doing too much at once, but switching between tasks, priorities and work modes far too quickly. Heavily scheduled-out writer Amber Singleton Riviere learned to avoid utter chaos and burn-out by implementing more and better buffers.
Photo by everywhereisimagined.
Without giving yourself time to stop, think and prepare for your next task, you are, at some point, no long working — just reacting. Riviere details how a conscious decision to implement her own buffers led to more output and fewer meltdowns.
Buffers around vacations, breaks and sick leave. It takes a little time to get back into the rhythm of working, and usually there's a backlog of emails, blog maintenance, writing and other tasks that have to be tackled in addition to the regular work. Try adding a buffer of a quarter to a third of the time you were out to compensate for the added workload, as well as the "jet lag" caused by time away from the regular routine.
Buffers around weekends and work weeks. This is one place where I actually have been doing much better with maintaining buffers. I reserve Monday mornings for accountability calls and planning so that I can see where I'm going in the weeks ahead and where I've been in the past week or two. On Fridays, I'm trying to get into the practice of using an hour or so to plan out the coming week and make any adjustments to my schedule and workload, based on any projects and appointments I have on the docket.
That last point sounds a lot like implementing a weekly review. Implementing a smaller version of it into each day is probably a great idea that far too few of us think we "have time for" anymore.
What moments of reflection can't you live without? When do you know you need to calm down and take a look around? Offer up your own buffer setups in the comments.
The Importance of Buffers [WebWorkerDaily]