Show Notes

Episode 245: Working Through a Backlog (Redux)

We published this episode back in February 2020 and unfortunately backlogs are not a thing of the past! We thought we’d rerun it for those who are still dealing with this challenge.

When stuff piles up in your home or office it can overwhelming to contemplate plowing through it and getting rid of the backlog. Add perfectionist tendencies to the equation and it can be even more challenging. In this episode, Janine and Shannon discuss some strategies for working through a backlog. Stay tuned next week when we discuss preventing pileups so the backlogs don’t come back.

Discussion topics include:

  • The satisfaction of working through a backlog
  • Our own current backlogs
  • Dealing with a (tremendous!) email backlog
  • Picking the low-hanging fruit first
  • How putting like things together can help you decide to get rid of stuff
  • An easier way of dealing with filing: Keep less paper!
  • The value of doing a high-level presort before filing
  • How a timer can help you get through your backlog
  • Allowing yourself to deal with a backlog with as much ease as possible
  • Isolating a backlog to allow you to work on it a little at a time without adding to it
  • Dealing with a backlog of postal mail
  • Remember: The job’s not done until the tools are put away


Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management, by Mark Forster

A note from Shannon:

I worked through the bulk of my email backlog using an app called Chuck Email. It groups all your messages in your inbox into groups by sender, subject or time. Then you can process those batched groups very quickly. I went from over 12,000 emails in my inbox to under 300 in less than two hours!

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