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Time Management – Delaying Tasks

June 18, 2012

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We are all well aware that life is busy. At times it may feel like it’s far too busy for us to keep up. This means that we can put off tasks that should be done. Putting off tasks is not necessarily the same as procrastination. To put off a task is to know that you have to do it and continue to put it off.

The following are some tips to help you moved forward.

  1. Identify the task that you are putting off and do the task. Don’t start or do anything else until you have done that task.
  2. If the task is something that is too difficult, you don’t have the skills, or even too trivial then consider delegating or outsourcing.
  3. At the beginning of each day most time management experts recommend that you number your tasks that you intend to do for the day. It is important that you then follow the numbers in numerical order. This keeps you moving and helps prevent putting off tasks.
  4. You may be delaying the task because you have forgotten how to do the task. If it is something that you don’t do regularly this can occur. Therefore your next action may be to talk to someone who knows how to do it and find out how it is done [can I suggest that you write a system so you know how to do the task next time it comes about.]
  5. Sometimes we put off the task because we are missing information. Therefore, you know what you have to do now. Identify what the information is that you need and find the information. The key here is to actually work out what the information is that you need. Don’t just write an action note of “get information”. That will not help at all. Write what the information is that you have to get. For example “get 2011 tax return to obtain the date taxation was submitted.”
  6. Often we automatically do things because they are “on our list” however it is important to ask whether the task really needs to be done.  It’s frustrating to eventually complete a task only to discover that it didn’t have to be done at all!
  7. You may have tasks on your list that involves paying for something and you have to wait until you have money, put the task into a “future to-do” list. Don’t have the task hanging over your head and on “the list” when there is nothing you can do for now to get it done.
  8. If you can’t make yourself put the paperwork away then just buy the item. Complete the task on your list and move on.
  9. Have a day or half a day a month that is known as “finish up day” or “completion day”. This is the day where you complete all the outstanding tasks that you haven’t got around to. It’s an amazing feeling when this occurs as it gives you a real sense of freedom.
  10. The most brutal option is to just not do the task. If it was important then you would have done it by now! Face reality perhaps it’s just not that important!

The key is to look at all the tasks you have to do and question whether you really have to do them. Don’t just be someone who is busy. Be someone who is productive.

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