Monday, August 29, 2016

A small problem-solving tip for your TO DO list

Here's a little principle for all TO DO and NOT TO DO lists. I suspect most of us do this instinctively, but it's worth making it an explicit part of your planning process:

Break the tasks into small tasks for scheduling purposes.

If you have large tasks to do, they may keep falling to the bottom of your stack because they look too imposing or because you rarely have large blocks of empty time.

Also, smaller tasks have fewer conditions needed to start. A large task may have so many pre-conditions that even when you have the time, one of the conditions may be missing, so you don't start. 

One way to break up a large task is to create smaller tasks, each one of which removes a pre-condition for the larger task. For example, if you need to call a source, but you do most of your work at a time when the source may not be available, make the call into one small task so it can be removed from the constraints on the large task.

Small tasks are also motivating because you receive frequent feelings of accomplishment.

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