Is this a distraction task?
We already discussed procrastination. It’s important to think about whether each task you do is simply a distraction or whether it’s vital. If you’re avoiding essential jobs that you don’t want to do by doing “busywork”, it’s time to ditch that busywork.
Use A “Do Later” List
We already talked about the importance of planning your day and writing to-do lists. However, there’s another type of list that can be beneficial: the “Do Later” list.
The “Do Later” list helps to keep your mind clear. You have a to- do list with all the immediate tasks you need to do. But, what do you do with the non-urgent tasks? Rather than keeping them in your head, note them down. This allows you to remain fully focused on the key tasks at hand. Yet, you won’t forget about all those non-essential jobs that can be delayed until later.
While this type of list is a useful solution, it isn’t foolproof. There’s a danger that if a task ends up on the “Do Later” list, it just won’t get done. Therefore, you should add a review date to each item. Note that review date in your diary.
That way, nothing will get overlooked. You should also keep your list in a visible location. This means you won’t forget all about it. In your less productive times of the day, you should aim to tackle some of the items on this list. That way, the task gets done without impacting your productivity levels.
The 80/20 Rule
When it comes to time management, the 80/20 rule can be revolutionary. Sometimes known as the Pareto Principle, this rule helps to boost your productivity. Applying this rule allows you to prioritize your time and your tasks. It’s vital at work and key to success at home too. So, how does the principle work?
Out of any ten items, two are more valuable than the others put together. However, those two items are most likely to be the ones we delay and procrastinate on. The 80/20 rule ensures this doesn’t happen.
How can you apply the rule in your own life? Write down 10 goals that you need to accomplish. Next, ask which of those goals is most important. Which one has the most positive impact? Which one is most essential? Which one is most time-pressured? Next, choose the next most vital goal. This identifies the “20” element of the equation. You now know which goals you need to work on first.
The 80/20 rule ties into the “Eat the Frog” technique mentioned earlier. All too often, the “20” element of the equation is the frog. Often, the day’s most valuable tasks are the most complex and difficult. Yet, the rewards and payoff when you complete them are also exponentially bigger.
Before you begin any task, you should therefore always ask whether it’s a “20” task. Resisting the temptation to get small jobs done first is a hard habit to break. Yet, when you do break it, you’ll boost your productivity and become more successful.