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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Avoiding constant postponing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Andrew Conkling

It's easy to set due dates on tasks that don't have firm dates, and then end up postponing them a lot if you don't get to them right away. In this week's tip, kokuran shares an easier way to manage these kinds of tasks.

I like to put a due date on everything except for "maybe someday tasks", but this creates a problem where I'm not sure what has to be done and what can wait a bit longer. And so I endlessly postpone or revise due dates to avoid the guilt of overdue tasks. To combat this, I combined my due dates with priorities:

  • Priority 1 is for hard due dates: it really actually has to be done that day
  • Priority 2 is for soft due dates: it should get done that day, but it can wait a week or so
  • Priority 3 is whenever: it would be best to be done within a month or so, but no rush.

I then postpone any of the priority 2-3 stuff that I don't get to on the day it's "due", and set up a Smart List that keeps track of tasks that have been postponed many times. After 10 postponements (priority 2) or 45 (priority 3), I upgrade the task's priority one level to force myself to get it done.

postponed: >10 AND priority:2
postponed: >45 AND priority:3

Thanks for sharing this tip, kokuran! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

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Posted in: Tips & Tricks