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Within a sequence of decisions, your most hesitant and vague decision will have the greatest effect on the overall consequences. Alexander Cortes
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« SF Tips - #8: Dismissal | Main | Case Study: Superfocus for Writing an Historical Novel »

SF Tips - #7: Tasks that are both urgent and unfinished

A task that is both urgent and unfinished will normally have started life as an urgent task, though it is possible that an unfinished task may become urgent during its lifetime.

Two examples of urgent and unfinished tasks are:

  1. an urgent task that wasn’t finished the first time it was worked on
  2. a larger task deliberately selected for regular treatment

Writing this tip is an example of the first. I decided it was urgent because I wanted it done sooner than I would reach it in the normal course of things. I knew I needed to do a first draft before finalising it, so allowed time for two sessions of writing it.

Reading “War and Peace” was an example of the second. In order to get the book read quickly I decided it was “urgent” to get moving on it, and kept it in column 2. This meant I was reading it multiple times a day.

This provides a flexible way to do important projects while at the same time dealing with more trivial but necessary tasks.

To repeat what I said in my last two tips, it’s import to keep the tasks in Column 2 to a minimum. In particular it would be unwise to keep more than one, or possibly two, long term projects in Column 2 at a time.

Next tip: Dismissal

Reader Comments (6)

"In particular it would be unwise to keep more than one, or possibly two, long term projects in Column 2 at a time."

Yes, this sounds to me a very good advice. I'll implement it.
March 23, 2011 at 21:18 | Registered CommenterMarcelo

Isn't ANY started but unfinished task treated the same as an urgent task (unfinished or not), and differently from unstarted tasks?

It didn't occur to me quite so clearly until I wrote it down, but that feels to me like a key driving principle, differentiating .SF from DIT, AF and DWM.
March 24, 2011 at 16:08 | Registered CommenterWill
Hi Mark,

Thanks for these great tips; they are very helpful. A quick edit: you forgot to tag this entry with the SF tips tag.
March 24, 2011 at 19:33 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen
This article was alright, but I'm hoping the one on Dismissal wasn't dismissed.
March 28, 2011 at 15:49 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Hi Mark,
just for clarifcation: After one reading session, where exactly did you put "War and Peace": C2 on the SAME page or C2 on the NEXT page?

Since you considered it to be urgent, according to the rules it would have gone on the same page, right?

btw: Thanks for all you great tips. Yesterday I have started implementing SF and I am curious how it'll work out. Thanks for sharing your insights!
May 18, 2011 at 10:28 | Unregistered CommenterBG

It started by being entered on the same page as "Urgent", but when the reading session was over it went on the next page as "Unfinished".
May 18, 2011 at 22:32 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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