Most of my clients are completely overwhelmed when it comes to work. They are typically over committed and under organized, so when it comes time to get things done, very often they don’t know where to begin. They open their productivity app of choice and glance at their Priority or “Due” list and don’t know where to begin because they have 35 tasks “due” today. This is an easy habit to get into and thankfully there is an easy solution, with two ways to mitigate this problem.
1 - You don’t need due dates on everything.
Most people create a task and give it a due or trigger date so they are reminding to do something. The problem with this is that before you know it you have assigned yourself 35 things due on a single day! The better way to manage this is to only use due dates on things that are really “due”, or that you need to be reminded of. Some examples include pay the mortgage, a specific social event, etc.
For tasks that do not have a due date, but need to get done soon, add them to an action list. An action list is a context (or category in Nozbe) that can be anything you want - as long as it is relevant to you for the task at hand. You might have several lists with one example being to create a list based on how much energy you have. They use the “low energy list” for doing rote tasks and the “high energy list” for full creative thinking. Other options might include a person, place or thing to get things done. Such as list for “Spouse”, “Office”, “MacBook”, etc. Once a week you should add tasks to these lists during your weekly review. You are doing a weekly review of your tasks, right? 😃
2 - Prioritize your day.
Perhaps you really do have 35 things “due” today, but you don’t know where to begin. I recommend that my clients use the “Most Important Task (MIT)” and “Secondary Tasks of Importance (STI)” method. This means you look through your list of tasks and determine 3 MIT for the day and complete those first. Then, identify 3 more tasks that if you finish the first 3, you can continue working on these STI. In Nozbe, you can easily do this by creating categories with these names and assigning them to the task. Then in the Priority list you can filter to see just these categories.
There will always be obstacles when trying to be productive. With these two tips I hope you can find some solace in your productivity challenges.
Author: Chad Garrett - President of Productivity Grid, LLC and a Nozbe Ambassador. From his perspective, Nozbe is really the perfect productivity tool when trying to incorporate a variety of workflows, including David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.