Effective time management is — at least in part — the art of putting some things off until tomorrow. Of course, if you choose the wrong things, or let tasks pile up to the point where you’re always playing catch-up, you’re probably causing yourself a lot of unnecessary panic.
(Photo Credit: John Schultz/Flickr)
“We all put tasks aside at some point,” writes Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja. “Sometimes it is for good reason. For example, if the item is not a priority, then it should wait. Other times, we put things on the back burner merely because we are trying to avoid them.”
That’s when the trouble starts. When should you never put off a task? When it is:
1. Likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Will you forget about this task if you don’t do it right now? If you get a lot of these, you might need to develop a better system of reminders. But if it’s every once in a while, you’re probably best off getting these little, easily forgotten tasks right away.
2. Dangerous if ignored.
Some tasks, if put off, become safety issues, Jarrow reminds us. These should be done right away, for obvious reasons. Examples of these kinds of tasks range from basic mechanical repairs to security issues on your website. (Looking at you, Heartbleed bug.)
3. Apt to create more work.
If you can stop a work snowball in its tracks, why wouldn’t you? Answer that email query before misinformation takes root, pay that licensing fee before late charges kick in, answer your phone before the caller starts playing phone tag with each and every member of your team. Sometimes, the easy way is to do things right now.
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