Are you spending too much time prioritising your to-do list only to still have unfinished tasks nagging at the back of your mind (the dreadful Zeigarnik Effect)? One solution may be to ditch the to-do list altogether and instead use task scheduling.
Photo by john.schulz.
Ari Meisel on his Art of Less Doing blog argues that for happiness and to avoid the damage of the Zeigarnik Effect, you should only deal with things that are timely and in the now. “No matter how you look at it,” he says, “tasks involve timing” so instead of making lists with dozens of items on them that are going to stress you out while they’re not being worked on, use a tool like FollowUp.cc, which we’ve highlighted before, to schedule your tasks. FollowUp.cc sends email reminders to yourself and others at exact times that you need them. This keeps you from constantly looking at undone tasks, yet ensures you get things done.
Here’s how his system of “stop trying to prioritise and work on your timing” works:
Take a good look at your list, whether it’s your to do list, bucket list, leap list, whatever form its in, and really think about WHEN these things need to get done or take place. You want to attack these items in such a way that things can get accomplished as soon as reasonably possible, because there will always be more stuff. The good thing about this system is that once you use it, any new task that comes up simply needs to be “timed” and then put out of your mind.
My scheduled tasks do tend to get done more often than the ones without timing associated to them, but I’m not sure if I can totally give up tasks lists. Still, anything would be worth getting rid of that nagging Zeigarnik Effect. What do you think?
Don’t Try To prioritise, Work On Your Timing [Ari Meisel – The Art of Less Doing]