How to Organise Your Pharmacy School & Side Hustle Projects to Make Continuous Progress, Eliminate Overwhelm, and Prioritise What Matters

Reading time: 2.5 min

In my first year of pharmacy school, my task manager was an utter mess.

A huge spread of incomplete projects, all competing for my time, energy, and attention. It was a dumping ground: studying for pharmacy exams, student society duties, writing papers, online self-learning courses, and daily writing, all awaiting my input.

Nothing without a class deadline would ever get done. And I would rarely prioritise my own long-term wants and well-being.

After experimenting for 4 years, I eventually rearranged my task managers and note-taking system to a 3-layer hierarchy system.

And suddenly, I gained massive clarity in my priorities, eliminated the stress of thinking about what to do every day, and could progress important projects consistently. Here's how:

1. Organise your projects in a 3-layer hierarchy:

At the top: Life focuses, e.g., health, study, profession, relationships, finance.

Under each life focus (the middle): Goal(s) under each focus, e.g., for study: master the contents of the course Pharmacotherapy I to achieve an A grade.

Under each goal (the bottom): Commitments (recurring tasks) and Projects (one-off tasks) that move me towards a goal, e.g., study 20 minutes of Pharmacotherapy every day, and prepare presentation slides.

2. Limit the number of active projects & commitments to 5.

Pick 5 projects/commitments most important to you (and most urgent) to put on an "active" list.

Now put all your time, energy, and attention into these 5.

You can adjust the number of active projects/commitments up. Still, each additional project & commitment makes the rest exponentially more challenging to balance. You'll be diluting your time, energy, and attention further.

3. Work on your active projects & commitments on a daily/weekly basis.

This will ensure you progress on your most pressing projects/commitments.

There will only be 5 to pick from. No thinking required. Just do.

Now your daily and long-term priorities are crystal clear:

Your day-to-day tasks are aligned with your long-term wants & priorities.

Each task/project/commitment you complete moves you towards your goals.

You have a limited selection of immediate focuses, reducing overwhelm and decision fatigue.

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