This is going to be a short post because I just want to log a little epiphany related to managing tasks.
Basically it is this:
Tasks always require a certain degree of focus to be completed.
Not very romantic, I admit. But it came to me when I saw a coworker's task list and she had all sorts of color coding and other markups on the list, probably to help her differentiate priorities.
I've been there myself so recognized the m.o. immediately.
But I've since thrown all that out for the most part. The only thing I track about a task is:
- The task (of course) in as finite a wording as I can (e.g. something like "stop being so thirsty" isn't really executable. "Drink a glass of water 3 times per day" is much more doable.). Wording it in measurable terms is sometimes another way to look at this.
- Simple priority. This is either it's position on the list or I may mark a task as P1 or P2. But that's as far as I go with it.
- Who owns it, if not me
- IF it has to be done by a certain time, I mark it as such. This can get out of control sometimes so I try and reserve it for things things that really have a due date in the real world and not just in my head.
That's it. Anything more elaborate than that is a waste of time for me usually--it's time I could have spent focusing on the task.
In short, you can waste a lot of time meddling with tasks. In the end, you have to pick one of them and drive it to completion--then go to the next. Sounds overly simple, I know, but it's very easy to do other things (like prioritize, organize and pretend like we're multitasking and all that).
Focus is senior to all of it. "Dones"--task completions--require it.
So should we (mostly of ourselves).