Prioritizing work and the TOMs/TOTOs hierarchy – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD

One of my biggest problems, as I have openly said everywhere, is that I often prioritize other people over myself. This is partly because I’m overly generous by nature, partly because I also know that helping others will come to me naturally, whereas sometimes tackling my own work is hard and difficult.

One of the tricks I use to force myself to prioritize my own work and well being before others is using the TOMs/TOTOs hierarchy.

I have categorized my writing commitments in 2 categories: TOM’s and TOTOs. TOMs refers to Text I Owe to Myself (e.g. my own writing commitments). TOTOs refer to Text I Owe To Others (e.g. drafts of documents where I’m supposed to be commenting). I try to focus on my TOM’s.

— Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega (@raulpacheco) November 27, 2019

As I said on Twitter, for my I focus on TOMs, and when I get to campus, I work on the TOTOs – this may sound selfish, but seriously if I don’t carve time for my own writing, I simply work on stuff that I owe to other people and I never focus on my own writing.

You may want to consider start prioritizing your TOMs.

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