We are all well aware that life is busy. At times, it may feel like it’s far too busy for us to keep up. This means that we can put off tasks that should be done. The following are some tips to help you move forward when you find you are putting tasks last on the ‘to-do’ list day-after-day or week-after-week and in some cases month-after-month.
Identify the task that you are putting off and do the task. Don’t start or do anything else until you have done that task.
If the task is something that is too difficult, you don’t have the skills, or even too trivial, then consider delegating or outsourcing.
At the beginning of each day, most time management experts recommend that you number your tasks that you intend to do for the day. It’s important that you then follow the numbers in order. This keeps you moving and helps prevent putting off tasks.
You may be delaying the task because you have forgotten how to do the task. If it’s something that you don’t do regularly, this can occur. Therefore, your next action may be to talk to someone who knows how to do it and find out how it is done (then write a system so you know how to do the task next time it comes about).
Sometimes we put off the task because we are missing information. The next step is to identify what the information is that you need and find that information. The key here is to actually work out what the information is that you need. Don’t just write an action note of “get information”. That won’t help at all. Write what the information is that you have to get. For example, “get 2013 tax return to obtain when the date taxation was submitted.”
Often, we automatically do things because they are “on our list”. However, it’s important to ask whether the task really needs to be done. It’s frustrating to eventually complete a task only to discover that it didn’t have to be done at all!
You may have tasks on your list that involves paying for something and you have to wait until you have the money. Put the task into a “future to-do” list. Don’t have the task hanging over your head and on “the list” when there is nothing you can do at the moment to complete the task.
Have a day or even a half-day in a month that is known as “finish-up day” or “completion day”. This is the day where you complete all the outstanding tasks that you haven’t finished yet. It’s an amazing feeling when this occurs as it gives you a real sense of freedom.
The most brutal option is to just not do the task. If it was important, then you would have done it by now! Face reality perhaps it’s just not that important!