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22 Apr

Get what you keep postponing done with a dose of urgency

Datum: 2015-04-22 12:00

Most of us have a job and a pro­fes­sion­al sit­u­a­tion which makes us tend to pri­or­i­tize the short, urgent tasks that pop up on a dai­ly basis, and there­fore post­pone work­ing on the long-term, not so urgent tasks until some oth­er time. Hav­ing this said, I am not say­ing that the non-urgent tasks are not important.

Most of these are impor­tant since they are what, when com­plet­ed, bring us and our busi­ness clos­er to attain­ing our goals and ambi­tions, but since they are not urgent or might not even have a clear dead­line or due-date, we tend to do oth­er things before work­ing on them. The tasks we post­pone could for instance con­cern work­ing on get­ting new clients, ini­ti­at­ing improve­ment-ini­tia­tives, and writ­ing reports.

Sure, we can reserve time in the cal­en­dar to do the not so urgent tasks as well, but for peri­ods of time we might have so many oth­er things on our plate that we do not even dare to do any­thing but the most urgent tasks since we are so busy.

Let’s accept that we are in quick and urgent”-mode and then turn this to our advantage.
That way we do not have to feel bad, sad or stressed due to the fact that we can­not work the way we think we should right now. We can adapt the tasks to suit our cur­rent mode and sit­u­a­tion rather than the oth­er way around, and they will then get done with much less effort.

Do this
Here are three ideas of what we can do to get long-term things done in spite of doing all the urgent things first. And two of the fol­low­ing ideas are two sides of the same coin.

  1. Promise some­one you will meet a dead­line soon, even though it isn’t actu­al­ly that urgent (and the dead­line is set ear­li­er than it needs to be). If you promise some­one else you will deliv­er some­thing, you will try hard­er to make the dead­line than if you only agreed with your­self you would com­plete some­thing by a cer­tain date or time.

  2. Strive to con­vert incom­ing things into so called two-minute-tasks (quick tasks you can com­plete imme­di­ate­ly) so that you can do them quick­ly and then get on with oth­er things. Think: How can I do this in less than two min­utes? What is the least I could deliv­er with­out dis­pleas­ing the recip­i­ent, even if my actu­al ambi­tion is higher?”

  3. And the oth­er side of that is: Even if you are not able to com­plete the entire task in two min­utes, try find­ing a hid­den two-minute-task in the mate­r­i­al or task that lands on your desk so that you can take action and get going with the task with­out delay. If you at least get some small part of the task com­plet­ed, you will be on your way. Then you will have got­ten fur­ther than you would if you had done noth­ing at all.

Change the char­ac­ter of the tasks and see them get done faster
If you make your tedious or post­poned tasks more urgent, or if you get them done by mak­ing them into two-minute-tasks, you will get more of the tasks which are impor­tant but not urgent done than you oth­er­wise would.

Your con­science will be lighter regard­ing any tasks you have been post­pon­ing or pro­cras­ti­nat­ing, and you will be mov­ing towards com­ple­tion even though per­haps not all of the task gets done in a sin­gle go.

What is your way?
How do you get the long-term and impor­tant but not urgent tasks done? A pen­ny for your thoughts (so, feel free to leave a comment)…