Staying on task: Solution 1 17:32 on Wednesday

Touching on the subject, check out Dave Shea’s Task Progress Tracker V1
Originally uploaded by da5zeay.

To answer my own question, here’s one way to stay on task and stop losing time on things that don’t matter:

  1. First, create plan A. Figure out the best way to solve the problem at hand and accomplish what you’re going to do.
  2. Estimate the time it takes to finish the task.
  3. When the estimated time has passed, stop what you’re doing no matter how close to completion the task seems to be. This is because many tasks can stay at the “it will only take a few more minutes” stage for hours… Then create plan B (and possibly plan C) as alternative solutions for attacking the problem at hand.
  4. Continue to work with any of the plans. Yes, you can even continue with plan A. The point is to lower the mental cost of dropping the initial approach and try other potential solutions. After all, it could be that your plan A was fundamentally flawed and wouldn’t work anyway. But this way you’re not stuck if the chosen solution starts to look hopeless.

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