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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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)...