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How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

Break Tasks Down

Sometimes it seems daunting to start a project because of its scale, which is why it’s important to break tasks down into small chunks. 

Subdividing tasks allows you to keep progressing by switching tasks when you get stuck but have deadlines to meet or taking a break isn’t an option. It also allows you to circumvent boredom as you won’t get stuck in the same task.

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How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

https://www.fastcompany.com/90392932/to-do-lists-for-procrastinators

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Common Reasons For Procrastination

  • Fears of not doing a specific task well enough.
  • Unpleasant feelings associated with a specific task.
  • Thinking working under pressure makes for more efficient working.

Drop Or Automate Tasks

If procrastination makes your list have too many items, find out what you can eliminate. For necessary but time-consuming tasks that don’t bring a lot of returns, consider adopting solutions that will do it for you.

Automating tasks you would otherwise be doing manually, is also very satisfying and can help you fight procrastination.

Make Project-Specific To-Do Lists

Daily to-do lists can demoralize us, as we tend to keep pushing to the next day what we can’t finish in time, which makes the list grow and seem overwhelming.

Project-specific to-do lists consist of project-specific lists of all the actions you need to take to complete the project. They allow you to work through your tasks as you have time and better use scraps of time.

Only Plan For One Item a Day

One way of tackling procrastination is to focus on one thing, and then to give yourself permission to do whatever you want for the rest of the day. Select an important task you’ve been long avoiding, and take one day just for it.

After finishing the chosen task, you are likely to attend to other tasks that aren’t on your list and enjoy them more as they won’t seem like an obligation.

Create a Procrastination List

When you don’t feel like tackling the hard tasks on your to-do list, ensure that your “procrastination” activity moves you forward. You are unlikely to tackle complex tasks, so make a “procrastination” list with tasks that are different enough from the items on your actual to-do lists, and are relatively quick and painless to do. 

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To-Do Lists

Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy.

If the instructions are c...

The two modes
At any point during the workday, you are in one of these modes:
  • When a project or task comes up, the steps you need to take start to form in your mind. Now you're in thinking/Boss mode. 
  • Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.
Write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. 
Put Items That You're Definitely Doing

Instead of letting tasks you're not quite committed to loiter on your to-do list until you're sick of looking at them, move them off to a separate list, a holding area for Someday/Maybe items. 

Only concrete actions you're committed to completing should live on your to-do list.

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In need of a makeover

A to-do list can be helpful but is often not used successfully. If you end the day with things undone or if you regularly carry tasks forward, you need a to-do list makeover.

Get clear on what's important
  • Most people are unaware of their priorities. Our priorities are the things that are most important to us right now. Not serving them is non-negotiable.

  • People are capable of having two or three priorities. More priorities leave them scattered and unfulfilled, filling their time with stuff that doesn't matter.

  • Once you know your priorities, everything on your to-do list should serve them. Look out for the 'shoulds' - they are not serving your priorities.

Give tasks a value

Look over your to-do list and assign every task a value, such as a dollar-per-hour amount that you might have to pay someone else to do it. Score tasks from $10 per hour for administrative tasks up to $10,000 per hour for high-level strategy and sales-related tasks.

By giving dollar-per-hour values to specific tasks, you ensure you use your resources correctly.

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Set multiple deadlines

A way to create less stressful deadlines is to break large projects into smaller tasks. Set a deadline for each task instead of just one final deadline. 

Regularly spacing the deadlin...

Yerkes-Dodson law

The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the more mental arousal there is in doing a task, the more efficient a person becomes. After you get to a certain threshold, your performance begins to decrease.

An appropriate quantity of stress should inspire increased productivity.

Your ideal stress level

Difficult tasks require low levels of stress, while easy tasks require high levels of stress to trigger mental arousal.

The next time you set a deadline, try placing a rush deadline for easier tasks and set your deadline far out for more difficult projects.

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