Seemingly everyone has those 1, 2 or 10 tasks that just endlessly drag and somehow never get off of our to do lists. The fact that we merely have to read the task day in and day out seems to taunt us with “you STILL haven’t done x,y, or z!? What is wrong with you?” Try approaching tasks utilizing these tactics and with a different mind set and it will likely help your productivity & sanity.
Group Tasks by Theme
Try designating specific times or even entire days to certain tasks so when they pop into your head, you know there is a day that it’ll get done and there is no need to even waste any time or energy worrying about it now. This concept of creating Time Maps was created by Julie Morgenstern, fellow organizing and time management expert. A similar Maeve’s Method concept is Everything Has a Home. On its most basic level it means, if something has a place to live, you know where to find it when you need it.
The Maeve’s Method concept and Time Mapping can be utilized to create recurring themes to your days. Thus, when you get that nagging feeling of, “It’s so terrible that I never read, but I have no time so it’s useless to even try,” simply designate a time to read for 15-30 minutes a day, and that’s it. Now, your train commute in the evening will be when you read, no need to worry about it any other time. What will likely happen is you’ll start to find other little pockets of time to designate to reading just 15-30 minutes or whatever well intended thing you’ve been meaning to incorporate into your life.
Reassess Your Tasks
Reassess if this task is even still a priority. If you’ve let this task drag on for this long and there have been no real consequences, truly how important is it to accomplish? Or perhaps, if this really does need to get done, is there a different way to approach it? Can you break it down further to make it seems less daunting? As in, what is the first true step you can take to set you up for success? Breaking down a large task into smaller manageable tasks will not only make it seem less looming, but it can give you a sense of accomplishment to chip away at the big picture little by little.
Swallow the Frog
It’s corny but as a college intern, I once received the valuable work advice to start your day by “swallowing the frog.” If there is a large project or phone call you are dreading, start your day with this. This seems like it would cause stress to immediately jump into the task you have been stressing over but conversely, getting this daunting thing out of the way will give you such a sense of accomplishment, ease stress and clear your mind. You no longer have this stress weighing you down the entire day or week and you can be freed up to work on more turn key tasks or deal with any inevitable work “emergencies” that pop up.
Are there any other ways you choose to reframe how to think about time and your daily to dos?
Photo Credits – Woman on Cellphone: Matthew Kane; Scheduling: William Iven; Quill Pen Book; Aaron Burden