I had a lovely conversation with my project manager today about the editing work I'm doing for her over the next two weeks, and as I noted it all down on the calendar, I had one of those dry-mouth moments. I have been toying with the notion of taking some courses this weekend and had just gotten to the point of being really quite desperate to take them, but I also have two papers due Monday morning. And sleep to acquire.
In fairly short order I realized I can do it all, as long as I budget my time and stick to that budget. Here's what I do in this sort of serious pinch: I mock up a calendar form for however long the nightmare schedule is likely to last, and make a list of all the individual tasks I can think of that lead to completed projects. Then I note the due dates and figure out where I have free or multi-taskable time, and note down any other events that fall into that period, which is where I usually remember tasks like wrapping a present I had the good fortune to buy a couple of months ago by accident, or getting a nice topper for the gift for a party I thought was a week sooner than it is.
And then, when I've filled in all the available slots with necessary tasks and I have a sense of control over my existence, I go prowling for chocolate.