How the hell do I do that?

Most of the entrepreneurs I know have long to-do lists with “sticky” items that never seem to leave the list. It confounded me for weeks because at my previous job I was really good at completing tasks, prioritizing and executing methodically. Over the past 8 months I’ve found myself frequently tempted by low-hanging fruit and wooed away from completing high-priority tasks.

So of course, I asked myself what was going on. What I found is due to something I’ll call “Task Diversity.” Whereas at GE I was doing things I largely understood how to do or had sufficient direction, I now find myself doing many new and functionally disparate tasks each day. The new items are usually the sticky items because I don’t even know where to start, they sit there and fester while I sit there afraid to get started.

My to-do list has 3 columns (High/Medium/Low). Starting now the first thing I’ll do each morning and right after lunch will be to tackle a high value item. I’ll probably institute some other strategies as well. Any suggestions?

How the hell do I do that?

4 thoughts on “How the hell do I do that?

  1. Group tasks by similar activities so you can get into “modes” – like emailing mode, or errands mode, or research mode, or planning mode, etc. One thing that kills productivity is having to switch gears all the time. Your brain works better when it can get into a groove for a while.

    1. This is a great strategy that I am trying out today. It seems to be working quite well.

      I think its not just efficiency of completing tasks that this helps with, but also increasing the quality of the work.

  2. If you like Steve’s idea of modes, you may want to take a peak at Getting Things Done by David Allen. Though I don’t adhere to his entire system, I was able to cherry-pick a few things that work for me. His system abandons prioritizing in favor of grouping by context (At Computer, At Home, Running Errands are examples he uses). Feel free to borrow my copy.

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