Task mastery – some days, facing piled-up to-do-things I separate work from errands. Some for tomorrow or another day, then focus strongly on ‘all things important’ by separating them into piles, triaged in sequence on tables and my floor.
To get rid of these piles, to get maximum done in a short period, I try to sort by bite-sized pieces of work.
A pile of 5-minute tasks.
A pile of 15-minute tasks.
Should be easy, stay on task – get ’em all done in one day, still leaving time for some leisure at day’s end – what’s wrong with this plan?
Most 5-minute tasks take 5-minutes or less to do, but only if I stay on task.
But we don’t. Phones ring. We check email. Ideas fly, or float, into our mind for which we need to make a note, send an email, pull out a file or make a call. And, most things in the 5-minute pile are really 15-minute tasks waiting to happen. And the 15-minute pile are all wanting to be ‘an hour of my time’ if I let them. And sometimes I let them.
All this sounds like, reads like, a rabbit hole gone down.
Gone down it many times – but I’ve learned something precious in this process.
Any 5-minute task it can also become a full-day project. The trick is recognizing which ones need the whole day, which ones need 5 minutes and which ones shouldn’t be bothered with at all. I find the longer things sit in the pile, the shorter the pile ultimately becomes because things evaporate into the unimportant or they grow into the large and splendid.