Variation in the rate of task appearance leads to overburdening

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Assuming that we always complete everything on time, the average rate at which we complete tasks at is equal to the average rate in which tasks appear for us.

Given this, why do we become overburdened at some points in our life, while having plenty of free time during other points in our life?

The study of processes within operations management could answer this.

The variation in the rate of task appearance leads to 'queuing' of tasks. A sudden influx of 3 large projects within a few days leads to the tasks under these projects becoming queued rather than digested as your rate of task completion can only overclock so much, given that we're human.

To simplify, a bunch of tasks assigned at the same time leads to massive task queuing and me dying trying to digest it all.

So how can we overcome this?

  • Task completion rate: Well for one, don't procrastinate. Easier said than done. Procrastination, i.e. decreasing our rate of work until there's a need to increase it (like when when deadlines approach) certainly doesn't help, as that in itself leads to task queuing assuming that the rate in which tasks appear remains constant.

  • Task appearance rate: We could block out our time for each task, so that even if 3 projects appear at the same time, we designate a day or two for each one. By limiting the number of tasks in our working memory, we're less prone to becoming overwhelmed and each day becomes more manageable and less panic-stricken.

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