You’re busy. Super busy. We get that, we all are, or most of us anyway. You work in a business large enough where there are teams, cross-department projects, interdependencies, contingencies, the usual array of complex, human interactions.

You have a full plate of things to do, stuff is coming at coming at you from all sides, and is continuing to do so. Some of it can’t be both urgent and important. You simply can’t get to it all, can you?

Although it’s tempting to put the blinkers on and focus on one thing at a time, you can’t let people down and you can’t leave everything until the last minute, or it won’t get done. So what do you do?

2 things. First, you need to quickly triage every project in which you have a part to play, or where you need something to happen, or where people are relying on you for something. Second, you need to work back.

Yes, work back. Think about the end point, then figure out how long it’s going to take to get to the end point, then work back and figure out when you need to start something, or ask someone to start something. It’s no use putting off the creation of an important piece of collateral for an event until 2 days before the event. It probably takes a week to produce this kind of thing, so delegate it out and brief somebody now, so that they’ve the time to get it done for you. Failing to work back means that you have to ask someone to do the impossible, to pull something out of the fire for you because you didn’t triage – or quick plan – properly.

Get into the knack of working back. It will help you go forward.