We all have lots of low priority tasks lying around our to-do lists that will probably never get done. You simply have much more important tasks to do first. New important tasks pop-up all the time, so it’s unlikely that you will ever get to your low priority tasks.
You might ask: “Do I even have to write the task down, if it’s not important?” The definitive and final answer to that is – maybe! :-)
Let me tell you why: If you are even considering writing the task down, then your subconsciousness has already identified the task as somewhat important, and the task would subconsciously bother you. If you write it down, your mind can discard it, as it knows that it’s safely stored in your to-do list program, and move on to more important stuff.
On the other hand, if you can consciously decide that doing the task would have zero or negative benefit, then it’s safe to not write it down, as you consciously know that you don’t even want to do it.
So, the promised 5 ways how to deal with low priority tasks. *drum roll*
1) Can you delegate it?
This is not really a solution, unless you have a very reliable person to delegate the task to. Otherwise, you have to create a task “Check that Wally has done Task X”. And besides, doesn’t Wally have something more important to do, like drinking coffee and eating donuts?
2) Will it resolve itself?
If you know that the task will take care of itself, then just skip writing it down and let it go.
This approach is not always wise, as some tasks “solve” themselves not the way you would like them to (eg. your bills will get paid with the friendly help of executor :-)). It’s important that you are sure the task is really of low priority before using this approach.
3) Do I even want to get this done?
As I’ve said above, if there is zero or negative benefit for completing the task, then just move on.
4) Is it really low priority?
Sometimes you might label important tasks that you are not feeling like doing as low priority. That’s a really bad habit! If the task is important, admit it. Don’t run away from the truth.
Also, sometimes it is likely that finishing a task will have zero benefit, but it might also pay of handsomely. Eg. calling a client might likely not result in more business for you, but what if he places a huge order? (Now or in the future, because you’ve called him today)
5) Write it down and forget it
That’s my favorite way of dealing with unimportant tasks. I recommend creating a new to-do list just for tasks like this. You can name the to-do list something like “Maybe”, “Future”, “Procrastination Ideas” or “Never to-do” :-).
Alternative approach: Place the low priority tasks in your normal to-do lists, and get them out of your sight, either by sorting your to-do list by priority (from Highest to Lowest), or using filters (eg. you can create a new filter preset that will automatically hide all unimportant tasks).
Did you know that you Swift To-Do List 7 allows you to fully customize priorities? For example, you can delete or rename the default “Low” and “Lowest” priorities. Read more about it in our previous blog post: How to use 4-Quadrants Time Management using your own custom priorities
Don’t let low priority tasks undermine your productivity!
Having lots of low priority tasks that never get done haunting you can be *really* demotivational. I hope that this post has given you some insight into this issue and ideas how to deal with them.