Completing unfinished tasks is a great way to immediately change your life for the better. Unfinished tasks steal hours of valuable time and silently cause stress. These productivity thieves will zap your energy, but you can eliminate them.
From a button missing from your pants to a disorderly desk, every unfinished task robs you. Just like an embezzler sneaking away with money, these thieves don't steel in big obvious ways. They nibble your attention only for a few moments at a time. Not a big problem. Right? Wrong. The cumulative consequence is mind numbing. As many as fifty unfinished tasks might be silently stealing from you. Some of these only take a few moments. For example, a missing button aggravates you just a moment when you realize you still haven't sewn it on. Then you lose a few more minutes looking for something else to wear. A messy desk might mean 20 minutes of looking for a bill you failed to pay because it was mislayed. Not to mention the guilt you feel each time you see the disarray. Even if each of these unfinished tasks only averaged taking about 30 seconds of your time a day. Cumulatively this would total 9,125 minutes. That's almost 152 hours, or nearly four full forty hour work weeks.
What would your work performance increase with an extra 4 weeks of creative energy, rather than distraction and stress? How would your relationships with family and friends improve with an extra four weeks of attention?
So how can you arrest these thieves? You do so with four simple steps.
Step 1--Write out ALL of your unfinished tasks.
Step 2--Write the first action step necessary to get begin next to each task. These action steps may be tiny. For example, if you have intended to get your car repaired but failed to do so, then write down "call and setup appointment." Or, if you want purge boxes stored in the attic, then write "bring down first box." You will experience two immediate benefits from writing down these steps. First, you will overcome procrastination caused by feeling overwhelmed by the big picture. Second, you will be more successful at accomplishing the task because research has shown that people who write out goals out perform those who don't.
Step 3--Complete the five easiest tasks first. You need to get unstuck and then build momentum upon each small success. Start small and win big.
Step 4--Check off completed tasks immediately and then schedule the next action step to complete another task. Too many lists get written and shoved to the side. Avoid making this mistake by using the end of one task as a trigger to begin the next one. Scheduling is the key. Never allow yourself the luxury of not having your next step scheduled. This practice will separate you from those people who are stressed-out with furrowed brows and incomplete lists.
You will be surprised at how much you can change your life just by removing eliminating unfinished tasks that keep getting put off for another day. So don't wait one more minute. Make your list now and take you first action step and keep applying the four simple steps above.