focus: three strategies for prioritizing tasks
‘If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.’ ~unknown
One of the biggest problems people have when trying to find focus is having too many tasks competing for their time. It can be tough to prioritize.
Let’s break this problem into three smaller problems:
- too many tasks
- tough to prioritize
- tasks compete for your time
And with that, let’s discuss three strategies for dealing with these smaller problems.
1. Reduce your tasks
If you have too many tasks, the solution is to simplify your task list. Take 10 minutes to list everything you need to do — now just pick the 3-5 most important tasks. All the small tasks will go on a “do later” list, and you’re not going to worry about them now.
A good way to deal with the smaller, routine tasks that must be done (check email, pay bills, fill out paperwork, and so on) is to schedule a block of time later in the day to deal with them — perhaps the last 30 minutes of your day, or something like that. Early in the day, focus on the important tasks.
2. Choose the task that excites you
Now that you’ve simplified your task list, look at the 3-5 tasks left and pick one task. Just one.
How do you pick? Choose the task that most excites you, that feels compelling, that you’re most passionate about.
If you’re dreading the task, put it aside for now, and pick something more interesting.
If you have several tasks you’re excited about, you might also consider which task will have the biggest effect on your life. What will make the biggest impact?
Now that you’ve chosen one task, put the others aside for now and just focus on that one task.
Clear away all distractions, including your mobile device and the Internet. Just have the application open that you need to work on that task.
Now get to work. Throw yourself into it, and do it for at least 10 minutes. After that, you can take a break, but try to immerse yourself for at least 10 minutes.
And have fun doing it.
Next chapter: letting go of goals