Thrashing is the term used to describe a degenerate situation on a computer where increasing resources are used to do a decreasing amount of work. In this situation the system is said to be thrashing. Usually it refers to two or more processes accessing a shared resource repeatedly such that serious system performance degradation occurs – the system is spending a disproportionate amount of time just accessing shared resources. When this happens, your processing power is working overtime, yet accomplishing very little.
I also use this term to describe what happens when one comes into the office with too many tasks to juggle, too many papers on the desk, time constraints, and sales are not where they should be. Without a plan, we dive into email and begin responding or multi-tasking we call it. The problem is, much like Microsoft Windows, we don’t really multi-task, we time-slice. We spend some time on this, then some time on that, and lots of time switching tasks. The results – well, the results are generally poor. Lots of effort, little accomplished. We begin thrashing and getting stressed out.
Have you already wasted the early morning hours of your day? These are generally the most productive for those who practice time management. This morning, rather than going right to email, go right to your calendar. Figure out when the important revenue producing meetings are set, then look at the task list and figure out where the revenue producing tasks are. Then prioritize and set some short term goals for the day. Figure out one or two things that must be done above all else to make this week a meaningful part of the month. Finally, get rid of tasks that don’t really matter. DayTimer used to recommend creating a “grass catcher” list to hold those tasks that don’t really need to be done today or tomorrow – just sometime. I find that tasks eventually fall off of this list when I realize they aren’t worth doing.