How to proceed with not urgent stuff


#1

I have 264 overdue tasks (with assigned project to each task) since september 2019, when I opened the account. I follow GTD and Eisenhower methodologies but I’m in a situation that I don’t know what to do with all this someday/maybe tasks. All of this tasks are not urgent but, are they really important? How important?

I would like to know how to proceed at this moment.
Thanks

Forecast cluttered by Past Due tasks.mov

Screenshot (Forecast cluttered by Past Due tasks):

As you can see below (I’m a pharmacy manager), most of the tasks are in the first 1-5 projects lists, but are very unspecific:
88 | PHARMACY INBOX #NotUrgentStuff #WaitingStuff
34 | Main project picking list #PMM #MMM
27 | P_daily tasks
18 | P_Black_Friday
16 | P_happiness/the NC reward guy
15 | P_productivity
13 | P_Social
8 | P_analisis_inventario_PMM_MMM
8 | P_prevent_stress
7 | P_CONCILIA2
7 | P_e-comerce_skills
6 | P_minimalism
6 | P_SEFAC
5 | AIDS free - Think millionaire - Genius list - pMinimalist
5 | P_Facebook_Farmacia
5 | P_Improve_Quality_of_life_(QOL)
4 | P_Estanterias_HAB1
4 | P_make_week_easier
4 | P_two_jobs
3 | P_big_data
3 | P_cocinando_con_Mercadona
3 | P_GF
3 | P_improve_Feedly_skills
3 | P_Nueva cruz farmacia blanca
3 | P_PMM_MMM
3 | P_Protocolo venta cosmetica
3 | P_renovacion_escaparate_farmacia
2 | P_analysis_lab
2 | P_cena
2 | P_cosmetics
2 | P_generacion_perdida
2 | P_how_to_sell_in_facebook
2 | P_marketing_online
2 | P_meaning_of_life
2 | P_mejorar_mostradores
2 | P_reading #PMM #MMM
2 | P_registro dominio web
2 | P_Test/move to OmniFocus
2 | P_website
2 | S/M HOME and waiting P_
1 | Info
1 | Listar fechas publicaciones Facebook 2018 - asi vera cuantas se hacen por año, por mes y qué días
1 | P_Comidas caseras
1 | P_emprender
1 | P_entrepreneur_in_pharmacy
1 | P_FRIENDS
1 | P_get_up
1 | P_grupo_cine
1 | P_hobbies
1 | P_logos batas v1.0
1 | P_mantenimiento bici
1 | P_mejora/mantener condiciones trabajadores
1 | P_mejoras_casa
1 | P_No_Project
1 | P_Nuevo despacho farmacia
1 | P_organizador_de_pared
1 | P_Perchero
1 | P_pero_avoiding
1 | P_protocolos sintomas menores
1 | P_que tal #PMM #MMM
1 | P_Reforma_Farmacia
1 | P_RETO impulsa
1 | P_SUPERFARMACIA
1 | P_venta Moncofar
1 | P_vlog_farmacia
1 | P_web_page
1 | P_whole_view_projects_big_data
1 | S/M FARM and waiting P_


#2

I have stopped using the U, I, and U+I priorities. I have no clue what urgent means compared to having a deadline, for example 5 minutes from now. Also, everything I generate has some level of “importance” or I would not include it in my list.

I have used variations of these Eisenhower matrix systems instead.

The first is a return on investment approach. The second is a “when you fly on the airplane, you put your own oxygen mask on first” approach.

I also use a different application (Curio) to do my project-level planning via Kanban boards.


JJW


#3

I would get rid of those due dates cluttering up your Forecast. As you say they are not urgent, so they don’t need due dates. Just use due dates where there’s some external consequence if you fail to do it by then. Use flags or tags for your internal goals.

I had a hard time with the Eisenhower, mainly because tasks don’t always fit neatly into boxes. I have many work tasks that should be done in the near future, but don’t necessarily have a hard deadline. Urgent? And it’s hard to weigh importance. Everything at my job is important – if I don’t do it, I’m not doing my job! But clearly some things rank above others.

In general I think you need a few modes from OmniFocus:

  • execution - a list of things you are working on today. Could be the forecast view, the flagged view or a custom perspective.
  • planning/scheduling - a list of available things you can do. Use defer dates, on-hold tags, or putting whole projects on hold to limit how much you have to cope with. Flag or tag things of importance you want to work on soon.
  • delegation - tasks tagged with people, perhaps combined with a waiting (on-hold) tag for things you have asked for and are waiting on them to complete.

That more or less covers three of the Eisenhower quadrants, the fourth being leisure activities you don’t put into OmniFocus.


#5

I think the Eisenhower matrix was a fine model back in the '80s. It worked back then and maybe it is being strained now. On paper work, the theory is sound. But it starts to fall apart under the strains of today’s world where instant results are requested and insane demands are often required.

I’d also do as the above posters. Put due dates only on tasks that have material consequences if not fulfilled. My mind went numb when I had a bunch of overdue tasks and the red circles were screaming at me. I just tuned them out and they no longer had the desired effect of keeping me motivated.

For tasks and projects that I want to do, I am attempting to do time blocks. Keep appointments with myself and work on a group of tasks organized by context (at the office, on the computer, running errands, at the house, etc.). Or I can set aside a time block and work on a specific project. Mike Vardy from the Productivitist podcast likes to do themes. My Mondays are usually set aside for admin/office work. Tuesdays and Thursday are Big Rock project days for me. Wednesdays are reserved for meetings and running errands. Fridays are wrap-up days when I do weekly reports and do a weekly review to plan for the next week.

I don’t fill up every hour of every day but I use the themes to remind me to switch between different areas. Sometimes I can get ahead of myself and I’ll consider myself lucky. But that doesn’t happen often. Hyperscheduling (blocking almost every hour with something) was also a nice idea on paper but unusable in my work environment. I might have walk-in customers that can disrupt my plans. Thus, I’ll have one Big Win for the day (one task or project that I want to complete to consider today a victory). Then I’ll work on a few flagged tasks from a Big Rock project or work in a particular context (@Mac, @Phone, @Warehouse).


#7

How is possible the score of 5 since the maximum values in these matrix systems is 4? Could you give a usage example?


#8

The value of 5 (desire) is overflow. It is where I put stuff that is at a Someday or Maybe level. In the Eisenhower paradigm, it is stuff that is neither urgent nor important.


JJW


#9

I’ve taken to using a hybrid method of action lists (through perspectives) and tasks I want to do that I assign a defer date.

Due dates are for things that ABSOLUTELY have to happen on a given day.
I actually prefer to have tasks with due dates on my calendar and not in OF.
That way I can quickly view important tasks on my calendar at the start of the day.

That gives me a list of at maximum 10-15 tasks in a “now” perspective I can accomplish during the day. If I can’t get to them I simply leave them there so I can see tomorrow what I missed and take the decision whether I still want to do them or not.

All other actions are not dated and can be viewed through 4-6 tag based perspectives
I use these to either set defer dates so they will show up in the “now” perspective, or to pick tasks I want to do at the moment. They’re usually actions that are not urgent.

I’ve copied some of the methods used by Joe Buhlig, and explained in the latest episodes of Learn Omnifocus

my setup:

As you see I’ve removed the forecast perspective totally.
It does not add anything for my workflow.


#10

I agree - get rid of those due dates. Also, I’m not in your head but those actions don’t look like ‘next actions’ to me. They look like things you have to think about some more (I end up with a lot of those as well btw - I think I’m making a next action but actually I am not giving the creation of the action enough attention l, for any number of reasons).
In my first few years of GTD (and I still drift that way) the habit of capturing everything was overwhelmingly and I ended up with about 60 projects and a totally unmanageable weekly review. My wife (god bless her) had to sit me down with my project list and say ‘do you have ownership of this in such a way that you can move it forward?’ And if I didn’t I deleted it. So, I would recommend either using that technique or sitting with someone who can objectively review this list and ask specific questions of each action.