From the GTD (Getting Things Done) task management system, which gives its title to the book by David Allen and a name to a whole productivity system, you can extract these 6 tips that will help you manage what you don’t want to do:
1. Don’t interrupt your priorities
In addition to our priority tasks, it is usual that new needs will appear during the day, meaning more tasks and decisions to be made. The Getting Things Done System warns us not make the mistake of thinking that we have to take care of them right away. We can manage them later and then we will decide whether we want them and when we will do them.
2. Compile the new tasks
As new tasks arise throughout the day, you must write them down so you won’t forget about them, but also for them not to divert your attention from the To-Day List and your daily priorities. Make a list not to get distracted by what you can’t do at the time.
3. Delegate or leave it for “later”
If you find a task that you can’t – or don’t want to – do in that moment, the GTD method suggests you to do two things: delegate it to someone else or leave it for later (mark it as “standby” or “on hold“). Doing this will allow you to continue working on your current project without letting the issue be forgotten or the task get lost.
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4. Check your “standby” tasks
Every once in a while, e.g. weekly, you can check those tasks you have put on hold. This way, you won’t forget about them and you can incorporate them to what you need to do the following week or to your more immediate goals. Next time you check, you can decide about other new tasks, and so on.
5. Do a “someday” list
Another way to manage what you don’t want to do immediately is to tag some of those tasks as “someday”. The Getting Things Done System recommends compiling a list of tasks to be gone through later and take a decision about it then. In this list, you can add tasks with no defined priority, but which you do want to carry out.
Related post: How To Prioritize Tasks When You Are Bored
6. Do a “maybe” list
There are many tasks that we would like to perform, but don’t really know when or how. Create a list entitled “perhaps” or “maybe” for all those tasks you want to do but you can’t make a decision on whether or not you will be able to perform them, or when. To this list you can also add ideas you think of and on which you will later reflect.
In short, the GTD system, like other productivity methods, such as the Triskelion system, is committed to establishing a task management method aimed at meeting daily priorities and avoiding distractions. It is important for our productivity not to lose sight of other activities that also require our attention, but not necessarily urgently and immediately, as it may be possible to postpone or delegate them.
How do you manage what you don’t want to do?