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Feb. 16th, 2017 @ 11:35 pm Getting 90% of things done
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I recently realised something which many people had told me before, but I hadn't had the prerequisites in place to grok.

If I have a list of tasks to do today, and a rough breakdown of how long I expect them to take, and one is overrunning, it may make sense to take a break from *that* one and do all the others. And then start afresh on the longer one tomorrow. (At least, except when that one is SO urgent you just need to work on it alone until it's done.)

Partly because, even if your main work is overdue, there's always small other stuff (answering emails, dealing with admin, dealing with requests from other people) that it's good if it still gets done. And better that it gets SOME attention, even if that's just "I got your email but don't have time to reply in detail" rather than none.

And partly because, if something runs late, it often then runs MORE late, so (a) it will probably still be late even if you do drop everything else and (b) if you don't it will usually eat up ALL of the time.

And partly because, 10% of the tasks often take 90% of the time, and sometimes that's the most important task and sometimes it isn't, so if you advance on *all* tasks, you may find you've done all the most important ones and may never do the overrunning one at all.

I think that never really worked for me before, because tasks were ALWAYS overrunning, not because they took too long, but because I was scared of starting them. And the only way of starting them was forcing myself to, if I did other stuff, I would never start at all. (Which is ok if that task can be dropped, but not if it's the main thing I should be doing.) So my main task always overran, and the other stuff never got done till it got urgent. Now I've got better at not doing that :)

OTOH, the system also breaks down when you have too much stuff coming in to do all of it, and you don't have time for even the most basic of reaction to stuff people are thrusting onto your plate. At that point, you need to adopt a "don't have time for this" and "see if this goes away by itself before responding" attitude (or get an assistant).

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