Task Management When You’re Depressed:
Making Molehills out of Mountains
- Brainstorm—make a list of every chore/task/responsibility/obligation that you can think of. This will serve as your master-list.
- Sift through your master-list and select the ten tasks that are most important or need to be performed most immediately.
- Using this list of ten, map out the number of manageable tasks you believe you can accomplish on Monday, on Tuesday, etc. until all ten are mapped out on your calendar. The key word is MANAGEABLE. In light of your temporarily diminished level of energy, assign to each day only that which is manageable.
- When those ten tasks are accomplished, cross them off your original master-list. Then go through the master-list and select the next ten most urgent or important tasks, and assign to each day accordingly.
- On a given day perform the least desirable task for that day first, thereby avoiding the trap of procrastination.
- Weave rewards into each day’s schedule. Reward yourself after each task—take a 15–30 minute break and enjoy. Write these intermissions between tasks on your schedule. Pace yourself—work, break, work, break.
- At the end of the day, record tasks accomplished that day so as to provide yourself further satisfaction.
- Do not sabotage your efforts (e.g., “Big deal! My first day and I got a whopping 2 things done.”) How many did you get done laying in bed all day yesterday?
Steve Harris, LCPC