I often talk to people who have a lot of things on their plate. I probably attract that type of person because I naturally have lots too, so I'm likely to show unconscious empathy for them. We have to work at keeping everything under control! We typically have many projects with start and end dates and regular 'to do's. Managing the two different types of tasks is challenging!
By a lot on one's plate, I mean whatever the other person means - the amount is not the same for everyone. The risk of overwhelm and not knowing the best way to control may well be the same though!
How can I help you find the right time period to keep control? To find a way of pacing yourself?
I find that considering one's time horizon is helpful, and by that I mean the length of time into the future that one typically sets target dates for. Think of it as the time you can set in an egg-timer.
That too is different for everyone. Some have projects of 2 weeks and over a year in length at the same time, as well as daily or weekly 'must do's! It is not the project timeframe that matters, it seems far more relevant to think how far into the future one personally can 'see'; how far do your 'next' action dates reach out. That is your horizon, your current focus of time, how your are thinking of time.
Once you know your pacing, planning is easier.
Some think daily or weekly. E.g. daily planning works for those who're focussed on job hunting; a routine of looking at the job ads every day and deciding which ones to apply for then doing it, no matter what the distractions. Monthly is common for business owners as it tends to tie in with management/financial accounting.
Personally I find that 2 months is ideal for me currently, probably because I have two difficult, long projects on the go that takes up a lot of head space and time, and they vie for my attention. I would normally think of a month at time if I was doing just one, but I haven't spent enough time on both unless I think about 2 months, then the imbalance between the two averages out.
Your timeframe is the period to plan with, have view of in your diary or on your desk. Then review at the end of that time period what actually happened against your plan, no matter whether you're driven by long term projects or operational, regular tasks. For me it's my checkpoint to ensure I've got all my bills paid, invoices out and filing done, as well as made progress on my projects!
You might still need some daily or annual planning as well, but I'm talking about the regular planning and review cycle - your pacing - to help manage the workload to a known do-able amount on an ongoing basis. It sounds more complicated than it is. Try different time periods if you like. Or think of the jobs you dislike (like filing) and how often you must get around to them.