I will procrastinate for two reasons, I don't have enough time to do the task at hand, or I have plenty of time to do it so it can wait. See how I am thinking in terms of time and time alone? Time plays a large part in how I prioritize. Deadlines (mine, colleagues' and clients') must be respected to keep projects moving forward.
Overwhelm sets in when I have too many tasks to do and they have not been prioritized properly. I have lost control. As the work piles up I let anxiety get the best of me and distract me from the work at hand. Chaos takes over my workflow and I become stressed.
My work is solid because my foundation is built on systems and processes that support me and work with me. They are procedures that stand strong and can be picked up and implemented at any point in the project or task planning process. Falling down is of no consequence to me, my system is built so that I can pick it up anywhere and at any time, no muss, no fuss, no guilt. Seemingly insurmountable backlog? No problem. Triage is quick and easy with the right tools.
The right systems should give you:
Clarity: It doesn't take much more than two minutes to clearly understand the project or task at hand. Clarify exactly what is involved, what is needed from you, and what your next action should be. If necessary, break down the task into sub-tasks that are more manageable and make the project or task less overwhelming, in size, time and/or responsibility.
Motivation: If you can see the end result of what your task or project is and you can see a positive result to your contribution, it will motivate you to move forward on the work to be done. I am very goal-centric so, for me, this gets me moving forward quickly and easily.
If you are having trouble making headway on some projects or tasks because you lack clarity or motivation, reach out to the person in charge and ask them for their help in defining these two points. If you are the lead and these two drivers are not clear to you, imagine how unclear they are to your colleagues.
Having strong systems in place to help you work will help you move your teams and colleagues towards a more productive way of working, individually and collectively.
Solid task, time and communication management systems benefit the owners/users, the people around them and the company itself. The systems do not have to be elaborate or complicated, they only have to work for you, the user.