As our lives grow steadily busier with each day, our to-do lists tend to grow as well. With different tasks and goals competing for our time and attention, we seek to implement a system that can help us manage our routines and get things done. Yet in trying to clear out a lot of pending items off our schedules and task lists, we tend to focus exclusively on the “quick wins” or minor, manageable tasks. This can lead to postponement or neglect of seasonal, long-term items, such as air conditioner repair and maintenance, or complex tasks, such as that personal project you’ve always wanted to start. Here’s how you can avoid this pitfall and manage those items on your to-do list that don’t seem to go away.
Investigate the hold-up
The fact that you made a to-do list and organized your schedule for better task management is already a positive start. It also means you’re committed to getting things done; thus, if something goes wrong, there must be a reason and a response you can take. Look into each item on your to-do list that never seems to get done and find the reason/s why.
Say, you want to take your online presence to the next level and set up your website. Even though you publish blogs frequently and post a lot on social media, somehow, you haven’t gotten around to working on this personal project. Digging deeper may help you realize that the hold-up is a lack of knowledge in the back-end aspect. That realization can, in turn, unlock potential solutions leading to your breakthrough.
Break down and be specific
It’s no secret that large-scale, complex tasks tend to fill out our backlog of things to do. Once you understand what’s holding you back, which may vary with each item, it becomes easier to get specific. You can then break them down into smaller tasks that you can accomplish within a reasonable, set amount of time each day.
Going back to the example of a personal website project, instead of tackling the difficulty of learning to code from scratch, you can try learning a more user-friendly site builder or CMS platform. Setting up a WordPress or Wix site on your domain is a much simpler, one-time task compared to having to master a whole new skill.
Realign and schedule priorities
Simplifying and breaking down a complicated and intimidating task makes it more feasible to accomplish over time. However, these small-scale ‘micro-tasks’ might not still be as easy as your routine, low-hanging fruit. Imagine going to the supermarket to buy groceries or doing the dishes or laundry as needed—these tasks may take some time and effort but not a lot of brainpower.
By contrast, when setting up your website, you may want to study and apply techniques for promoting it and perhaps earning passive revenue through content marketing. These tasks can be accomplished in bite-size chunks. Still, you’ll need proper time and space to focus, learn, and practice each technique. Readjust your schedule and priorities around them to a reasonable extent so that you can continue to make progress.
Using these steps, you can focus on tasks that have become idle or stalled in their progress and finally clear them off your to-do list.