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Take another look at unfinished tasks on your list

How to conquer, not avoid, difficult tasks

Look unfinished tasks in the eye

  • We’ve all had a least one in our lives — the task that lingers on your to-do list for weeks on end. Don’t turn a blind eye. If you’ve got tasks that never seem to go away, it’s time to take a closer look.

    Some tasks on your to-do list can seem to carry over day after day until you’ve somehow put them off for months. Before you know it, you’re out of time to complete a goal you thought was in the bag. So what happened?

  • Analyze the avoidance

    There are many reasons you might put off a task. Here are several common causes:

    • It wasn’t that important in the first place. Planning to try a new recipe every week might be fun, but unless you’re a budding chef, it’s probably not vital.
    • There’s something standing in your way. Obstacles can take many forms, whether it’s fear of failure, unclear expectations or having to wait for someone else before you can take the next step.
    • You’re trying to do too much. You might be a productivity pro, but there are only so many hours in a day. If your to-do list is a mile long, some tasks are bound to be left undone.

    Whatever the cause of your unfinished tasks, your organizational method isn’t working, and you need to take proactive steps to fix it.

  • Past-due tasks: A three-step process

    To keep zombie tasks from taking over your life, follow these three steps:

    1. Take stock of the tasks that have been on your to-do list for more than a few days. Write them down on a Post-It® Super Sticky Lined Note, 4 in. x 6 in. You might need to dig into old to-do lists to ensure you’re not missing anything.
    2. Mark items that fall into that category with Post-it® Arrow Flags or Post-it® Tabs, 1 in.
    3. Take a close look at each item and decide which tasks should come off your list and which you should apply your problem-solving skills to in order to move forward. Some questions to ask yourself as you sort your list:
      • What will happen if I don’t complete this task? If the consequences are minimal or nonexistent, it probably doesn’t need to be on your to-do list.
      • Could someone else do it? Delegate whenever possible to keep your workload manageable.
      • Do I have everything I need? Make sure you have all the necessary resources before committing a job to your to-do list.

    Don’t let zombie tasks run amok in your life. By taking another look at what you’ve put off with Post-it® Products, you can turn avoidance into accomplishment.

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