Productivity Tip – Do Your Tasks in Order

The easiest thing you can do to improve productivity is to organize your tasks in a to-do list, if you haven’t done so already stop reading and write a to-do list (I use yaTimer, my excellent time tracking application to handle my to-do list).

Your to-do list should contain only items that are “doable” and can be finished and crossed off the list in a reasonable time (as a general guideline, anything that takes more than one day should be broken into smaller tasks).

Now normally I like to prioritize my to-do list and try to pick the best task to do next, this works just fine most of the time but it has some drawbacks:

  • If you have a lot of small tasks you may be wasting too much time prioritizing and picking tasks instead of doing real work.
  • Every time you pick your next task you read all of the tasks in order to pick the next one, this not only takes time it also make it harder to concentrate on the next task .
  • And finally, if there is one task you really don’t want to do it can stay on your task list virtually forever as you pick and choose other “more important” tasks to do first.

The solution for all those problems is just to do all tasks in order, finish the first task, then the second, then the third … don’t skip ahead, don’t even read items that are later in the list.

This method works best when you have a lot of small tasks that are more or less equally important – it fails miserably if you have a few tasks that are important or urgent and a lot of tasks who are not.

posted @ Monday, September 08, 2008 11:12 AM

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