Setting Task Deadlines

I’m good at writing down tasks I need to accomplish within the current week.  If it’s especially something that has a deadline, then I’m all over it. The problem I’ve been facing are tasks that can get done ‘whenever’.  No urgency.  And knowing this is what keeps them from getting continuously migrated from one month to the next.

No more

Starting my new Moleskine Professional Notebook planner/bullet journal as of October 1st, I used the Key Tasks page to list out every incomplete task I had been procrastinating over (and some new ones!)

The most recent ones are obvious – scheduling September client bookkeeping, packing for my annual trip to visit my parents (and my sister’s new home).  But picking up dry cleaning that I dropped off in July, scheduling a certain doctor appointment, bringing the living and dining room curtains to the dry cleaners (after they’ve graciously stored my winter comforter for the last two months!) are ones that have been strung along.

And that doesn’t even scratch the surface.  I have others listed in the back of my notebook categorized by household, yard and office that I need to incorporate.  I have hall, foyer and office closets to sort through, a shelf to assemble that I purchased from Target almost 2 years ago, finish basement cleanup, inventory our freezer and cupboards, organize the spice cabinet, screen and mulch the side of the house before winter sets in and finally put together our home information binder (that’s sitting empty and waiting since I purchased it at Staples – again – almost two years ago.)

I need to get serious here. And the only way I’ll get that fire lit under my hiney is by knowing I have a deadline.

Yes, I’ll know that it’s a bogus deadline – that we won’t run out of milk or clean clothes or we get foreclosed upon if I don’t do these by a specific date.  But I need to not only make a plan for these long overdue tasks, but hold myself accountable for them.  I plan to do it by breaking it down by the following:

  1. Decide upon the ones that have been migrated way too long.  I’m talking to you dry cleaning and shelf!  Schedule these first
  2. Estimate how long it should take me to complete each task.  IE: screening/mulching the side of the house may take up an afternoon, inventorying our grocery stockpile approximately 2 hours and scheduling a doctor’s appointment 10 minutes.
  3. Assign a do-able due date and mark it in my notebook
  4. Decide upon a day prior to the due date that I can realistically complete this task.  This way, I’m not turning the page to find that something that’ll take me five hours is due to get done tomorrow.  Weekends are best for lengthy projects such as purging, organizing and assembling so those types of tasks will be scheduled the Sat/Sun before their firm due date
  5. Put the date the task is to be completed in my notebook as well as my phone calendar with two audio alarms to bug me
  6. Make a list of anything I’ll need to complete that task (ie: tools to assemble shelf, dividers, labels, for the home binder, screen pegs for the landscaping, etc)
  7. Aside from personal or work emergencies, I will not plan anything else for that day.  Even if my husband begs me to dress up so he can take me out for a romantic dinner, I shall turn him down in the name of procrastination and give him a rain check date 🙂
  8. Schedule my routine tasks and errands around it so nothing conflicts.  If supper has to be prepped or an emergency trip to the store for something’s that needed to complete the task, well…..that’s what husbands are for (He knows I’m good for it!)
  9. Commit.  Make the commitment to get it done and putting it in my notebook and phone are easy.  Following through on something that I know won’t trigger a zombie apocalypse if I don’t complete it by my bogus deadline is another.  I need to condition myself to treat this task as if we’ll be shut off from our cable right before The Walking Dead premiere.
  10. Reschedule the task immediately in the event something of an urgent nature does come up that prevents me from completing it.  That includes a new due date, completion date and audio calendar reminders.

My goal is to end 2015 in the most productive way possible, making way for a nice, clean slate for the new year.




3 thoughts on “Setting Task Deadlines

  1. Those are very good tips. I think the “commit” tip is probably the most important. My husband tells me all the time that my biggest problem with my uncompleted lists is that I don’t fight for them. I make them and then as soon as things get complicated, I give up. He’s right. I do that. Somehow I need to get that commitment factor involved.

    • Commitment will most definitely be the biggest challenge because, deep in the crevices of my mind, I know that there’s no real due date. But I’ve put them off long enough and want my task list to be current. It certainly will challenge me. I’ve already scheduled two of them!

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