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Noise in the Mix: the Trap of Repeating Tasks

Be frugal with things that repeat in your task management system!

I’ve made this mistake dozens of times, using my task apps as coaches, expecting them to nudge me towards being more productive. For a while this works, but sooner or later I start resisting. This distracts me from the most important things on my Today list which means my defensiveness is slowly me down.

Scheduling recurring tasks (think: calendar) works better for me and helps keep noise out of the task mix.

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5 Responses to “Noise in the Mix: the Trap of Repeating Tasks”

  1. 1
    Robert Kok | Reply
    October 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I use a reminder app (Due for the iPhone) to nag me until small tasks get done. I also schedule repeating tasks such as “take out garbage bin” that I don’t want to see on my calendar or task app.

    This way I’m not distracted by these tasks on my calendar and they don’t show up on my task list or in my reviews.

    A benefit of Due is that it constantly nags me until I actually defer the task or complete it. When I defer the task too often it feels like I didn’t keep a commitment with myself, so I usually complete all the tasks I put on this list.

    For me this works much better than a single reminder from a calendar or task which I fail to notice or simply forgot. I often noticed I forgot about simple tasks I put on my calendar during my Weekly Review, put them back on the calendar and then forgot about them again.

    Another great method to keep noise levels down is to schedule tasks in the future similar to a Tickler file. My current GTD app doesn’t show them on my Next Action list until 2 days before the task was scheduled.

    • 1.1
      Weszt | Reply
      October 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

      I’ve found it useful to group many repeating tasks and have them on a routine list. The routine itself (e.g. “do morning routine”) would itself be a repeating task. This works, but you have to be tolerant. Ultimately I decided to just put the routine on my schedule.

      What I’m really finding is that I’m using the tools as excuses not to do something (I topic I’m really interested in writing about). I’ve been using GTD and taking good notes long enough I don’t forget much, but no system or tool has stopped me from putting things off. They aren’t giving me self-discipline, which is where my focus needs to be.

      Basically I just need to do what needs to be done and throw away the crutches.

      I’m a big fan of tickler files, but not in the traditional sense (meaning they are not scheduled). I like having a few notes that remind me of things not within projects or easily captured in a task manager.

      • 1.1.1
        Robert Kok |
        October 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Routine lists are great. I’m thinking about using them myself.

        I usually don’t forget much, but I find really useful to have an app that reminds me multiple times in case I get distracted or try to procrastinate.

      • Weszt |
        October 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

        This post putting me on the path to using routine lists:

        In my experience, though, a few well honed routines go a long way and we already probably do a few: daily and weekly reviews.

  2. 2
    October 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Mega Abstauber…

    [...]Noise in the Mix: the Trap of Repeating Tasks | Hanami Design[...]…

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