Quick tasks are things that take less than 15 minutes to complete, but still need to be added to the schedule to ensure your daily plan is complete and a success. Calling to make a doctor’s appointment, filling out paperwork, paying bills, etc. are all examples of quick tasks. When breaking a goal down into specific tasks for the day, sometimes we forget those quick items that are part of the process. Or we don’t forget them, but we intentionally leave them out because they are “small” tasks.
There are several issues with that approach:
Sometimes we DO forget them because we didn’t add them to our to do list. This can be really frustrating and put a damper on the rest of the success from the day because we feel like we “failed” by not getting those tasks done. Even worse, if it was a time sensitive task there may be repercussions for not completing it on time!
Those tasks may be small, but the time to do them adds up. If you have twenty quick tasks, it’s obviously going to take some time to get those done, even if it’s just 3-4 minutes for each one. If some of the tasks feel too small to warrant adding them to the schedule, instead try grouping some of the similar quick tasks together. See my post on dividing your to-do lists.
You’ll spend more mental energy trying to remember to do that task than it would take to just add it to your list. Planning and productivity are all about focus. When you are holding space in your brain to remember multiple small tasks, your focus is taken away from the task at hand. Adding small, quick tasks to your to-do list helps get them out of your brain so you can spend that energy focusing on your top priority tasks instead.
You don’t really get a good idea of everything you’ve accomplished if you don’t have that item on your list to check off once it’s completed. Taking note of what you’ve completed each day is a key part of keeping yourself motivated and inspired. If you complete multiple small tasks throughout the day but don’t have them listed out on your daily plan, you may feel like you didn’t accomplish that much. Remember, celebrate the big wins AND the small ones too!
Instead, try these alternatives for small task management:
- Keep a list of quick tasks you can do when you have a few minutes of free time. Maybe you finished work faster than expected or your phone call ended sooner than you anticipated. Use those few extra minutes to pick one or two quick tasks to complete, instead of just doing nothing during that time.
2. Try clustering similar small tasks together. Need to make several phone calls? Schedule yourself a block of time specifically for making those calls. Same goes for emails and social media messages. Or you have several small tasks you need to complete in a specific room – knock them out together.
3. Turn it into a game – see how many short tasks you can do in 15 minutes. Every 2-3 hours schedule 15 minutes for quick tasks and see how many you can complete in that time frame. You may be surprised how much you can get done in such a short amount of time!
Small tasks can be a nuisance to remember and add to our daily schedules, but they are important, nonetheless. When we forget to add them, or worse yet – don’t include them in our focus for the day – it can lead to negative consequences. Instead of trying to remember every little task, try one of the alternatives above and watch your productivity soar!
All the best,