Below is a post I made on Twitter a few days ago (that seemed to reasonate with people more than I expected). I'm also posting it here since I feel it's important to discuss this problem of "busyness" in academia.
musings of a PhD student: I think I'm suffering from the problem of having said yes to too many stuff. I keep missing internal deadlines I set for myself; a bit worried this might affect the quality of work that I'm most excited about. Not to mention there are unanswered emails😞
Several academics have given advice that if you want to do high-quality work, it's important to set priorities and focus on those. And I fully agree with them. But just like all good advice, I found that, in practice, it's harder to say no to opportunities and prioritize—much more than I initially expected. Especially because there is a lot of "noise." So while I appreciate all replies to my tweet, I want to highlight prof. Ben Zhao's. He wrote: "Hate to tell you this, but it just gets worse from here. The more successful you are/become, the more demands there will be on your time, and the harder it will be to say no. Start practicing now. :-)" My goal for this year is to think deeply about my time and become better at focusing on projects that I think are the most exciting and impactful.