Working on My Backlogs


Was there a time in your life when you wished a day would last for more than 24 hours? There were too many items on your to-do-list that you feel so guilty getting a nap or just spending a little longer time enjoying your meal.

Years ago, I read Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where I learned a principle on how to prioritize and not procrastinate to be able to utilize time wisely. There was this quadrant (I can’t remember what it is called) where you categorize your tasks into four — important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important and not urgent, and not important but urgent. Of these four, it is clearly obvious that the top priority are the tasks that are in the important-and-urgent quadrant while the least priority are those under the not-important-not-urgent quadrant.

For some time, these quadrant principle worked well for me. When I wake up in the morning, I immediately know which task to prioritize. I wasn’t having any problems finishing deadlines or even finishing all the tasks in my to-do list. But recently, I found myself putting almost all my to-do tasks on the important-and-urgent quadrant. I am in second year medical school and I barely get decent sleep because there are so many IMPORTANT-and-URGENT tasks I need to finish.

Given this accumulation of tasks on my priority quadrant, I always find myself having backlogs — a task I started but did not or wasn’t able to finish because another more urgent and important task needs to be done. This scenario lasted for about two months and thus TODAY, RIGHT NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT I have tons of backlogs I need to keep up with.

Since I began medical schooling I always I made sure my life revolve around not only in medicine. I make sure I learn and grow holistically. Thus, when I say backlogs I mean not only in academics but in ALL ASPECTS of my life. For example, (and shame on me for this) my devotional readings and Bible readings. I wasn’t able to keep up with my reading plan because of all these seemingly more urgent tasks. Also, I had many blog ideas I wasn’t able to put into writing because of too much busy-ness. Losing ideas is my least-accepted kind of loss. Mind you, even my work-out schedule and my plans to go jogging every morning was put off.

The thing is, I put off tasks because I think another task is more important and more urgent. Last night before I went to bed, I was questioning myself. Am I being bias with my decisions of which is to be prioritized or not? Do I just tell myself this certain task is more urgent and more important because it’s more worth doing than the one I am currently in? Am I becoming too technical with my priority list?

I cannot find the answer right now but I know it’s just there somewhere inside my brain. This coming week will be another one of the busiest weeks for this semester but I am more than determined to get myself back ON TRACK. I need not stop just because of my backlogs. And I need not abandon my backlogs just because of what seems to be more important at the present.

I know I will find my pace back. It will just take time.

One thing is for sure today. Pacing back on track will be the only item on my important-and-urgent quadrant this week.




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