Use the 10 Minute Rule!
I developed the *10 minute rule* at some point in my career & it has been paying dividends since.
When you get a task - no matter how small or large it may seem, and no matter how much time you're told you have to complete it - immediately, and definitely that same day, spend JUST 10 MINUTES doing your most high-level research / thought organization on it.
Those 10 minutes will create exponential benefits over the next few days, including:
❶ Activating your "availability bias": You'll start noticing related topics/concepts in the world around you, without even doing anything (e.g., on your LinkedIn feed).
❷ Reducing your anxiety: 10 minutes of research will give you valuable information about how long it will take to complete the task (1 day, or 1 week?). Knowledge reduces anxiety.
❸ Increasing your "on-the-spot" value: Even if the deadline is in 4 weeks, you may run into your boss's boss in the coffee room next week, and she may ask about the project in passing. Would you rather say, "I haven't started on it," or "Oh yes, [export controls] will be among the key issues we'll need to address"?
❹ Reducing your blind spots: You may have to involve specialist colleagues in the project now, not 2 days before deadline.