If you're feeling overwhelmed, block off time in your day for flexible, unscheduled activities. You read that correctly: create chunks of time that won't be disturbed by clients or colleagues so you can focus on your tasks or education.
Blogger and consultant Shane Parrish writes on Betabeat:
I leave between two to four hours a day that are unplanned. In other words, schedule time that is unscheduled.
Block off time on your calendar that is unscheduled so other people won't intrude with meetings. These unblocked chunks of time could be helpful for creative work or catching up on other tasks. If you spend most of the day reacting to emails or requests, unscheduled time could give you the freedom to progress on proactive tasks like developing new skills.
In a corporate environment, unscheduled time still comes with the caveat that you should be responsive and flexible for most of the day. If you work at a company, your bosses or colleagues may wonder why you're not available to meet with them or collaborate on projects if they don't see you being productive during your unscheduled time.
If you can make it work, a couple of hours of flexible time every day can help you be proactive and get ahead.