Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
One of the issues I ran into when I was trying to get my time choices back in sync was that my target list seemed too daunting.
My task list needed an overhaul in conjunction with my time schedule.
The first step in any effective list is to make sure the tasks are do-able. “Fix siding” is not a do-able task unless you have the materials on hand and you are going to climb the ladder yourself. “Work hours?” is not a task at all, much less a do-able one.
I went through my task list and targets list and made sure that each item was actually do-able. Things like “schedule cat sitter” or “write open loop post”.
Why Break Them Down Further?
But some things were still made me shy away from actually doing them.
Yes, they were do-able, but I wanted to be able to quantify it. When I said “crochet baby blanket” what did that mean? Technically it would be done after doing one stitch; but somewhere I revolted as that not being enough. And I certainly couldn’t complete the project in one sitting. Unless that sitting encompassed a few days.
Some tasks seemed overwhelming. “Listen to and Rate one album” was do-able, but still seemed overwhelming because this is a task I do while doing other things.
So I decided to break them down further.
I wanted to make each of the tasks be low-hanging fruit that would take little effort to harvest. I had to apply procrastination busters to my task list, inherently, to get it done.
Ridiculously Time Limited Tasks
For the tasks that I wanted to make progress on, I chose a time limit that was do-able, yet would represent some progress. “Crochet baby blanket” became “crochet baby blanket for 5 minutes”. “Write section in book” became “Write 10 minutes”.
By setting the time limit so low, I am able to do just a tiny bit. It’s more than I would have done otherwise, but I find that once I get going, I do much more.
And of course, anything I do above the time limit is just gravy.
Ridiculously Easy Tasks
The other type of task I was having trouble with was the one that seemed too complex in the moment, even though it really wouldn’t take that much time.
I took each of these tasks and made it ridiculously easy. This bloated the list a bit, but it made it so that I could do things in under 5 minutes. “Listen to and rate one album” became 10 “Rate one song” tasks.
The whole point of making something so easy is that I will look at it and say, “I can do that right now.” And then I do it, because I don’t see the effort as being worth mentioning.
By setting time limits on some on-going tasks and breaking other tasks down into ridiculously simple steps, I have expanded the overall task list, but also made it much more likely to get done.
Have you applied procrastination busters to make your task list easier and simpler? Please share below.
Photo by ~Ealasaid~. Licensed under Creative Commons.