We’ve discussed that procrastination can save time, because there are some tasks you can safely put off forever:
Take a look at your task list. If you’ve been putting off a task, or a project, for more than five days in a row, cancel it, or put it on your “some day” list. Tasks which you think you should do, but don’t, drain your energy.
Tasks multiply like rabbits. Before you know it, you’ve got ten tasks scheduled for the day. You know that there’s no chance you’ll get them all done, because you have meetings, and you need to prepare for upcoming commitments.
How do you prune your task list of junk tasks?
Identify your “junk” tasks
Start by identifying your junk tasks.
A junk task is a task which you should get done. However, if it doesn’t get done today, or ever, you won’t lose your job or your business, nor will it affect the goals toward which you’re working.
For example, this morning I had 13 tasks to get done today. There’s zero chance I’ll get them all done, and having that many tasks staring me in the face all day is more than I can stand. I need to work on the tasks which relate to imminent deadlines, and tasks which affect my goals.
I have a “good health” goal, so I need to go for my walk, and do the exercises which keep my RSI under control. Taking care of yourself is all-important; you can’t achieve anything if you don’t.
Five of my tasks can be moved, or deleted entirely. This leaves eight tasks, a much more manageable list.
Task-triage: perform it every day
If you’re using Getting It Done or another task management system, you can end up with hundreds of tasks in your system. Since each new day brings additional tasks, how will you ever get out from under the weight of everything you need to do?
Identifying your junk tasks, and performing task-triage (deleting the junk) at the end or the start of each day helps.
Tip: find a task management app which encourages you to review your tasks. I’m currently using 2Do, because I can easily see how many tasks are in the entire system, and how many tasks I have coming up each day.
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