Unless a due date represents a specific promise we’ve made to others, let’s not put due dates on our tasks.
We really don’t want to forget any important tasks. When we record a task, we think, “Oh, I really have to get this task done. I will set a due date of tomorrow.” What could be wrong with this? Two things:
- As we add that new task, we are unaware of the likely hundreds of tasks already on our lists. (Yup, hundreds when you’ve captured everything you think you could do.) We want to make this new task “due tomorrow” to remind ourselves of how important we think it is but we don’t really know how important it is compared with all the others.
- We know that these due dates are not actual deadlines. We will waste time and energy avoiding the guilt and justifying to ourselves why we can ignore these due dates as they approach.
A far better way not to forget important items is to use the Effectiveness System. Have a central place to store all you could do. Refresh and review your lists daily and, in more detail, weekly. Whenever you wonder what task to do next, scan your lists for the next best thing to do. And reserve due dates for tasks you have promised to others to complete for those dates.
In your corner,
PS: For similar reasons, let’s not put “priorites” on our tasks, either.