It's completely understandable that people have a few hiccups when eliminating their to do list. Figuring out the best time to deal with a particular task goes counter to the more common method of getting things done as soon as you have a free moment. The truth is being productive isn't necessarily about getting everything done right now or even tomorrow, but rather about getting things done when they need to be.
For example, if you have a credit card bill due in 30 days, it would be nice to get it done today and not have to worry about it right? Why? So that you don't have to think about it right? However, the bill doesn't need to be paid for another 30 days, and more importantly, you DON'T need to be thinking about it now. The only time you need to think about it is when you are actually going to pay it, whether that is 5 minutes before it's due or anytime between now and then. There is no benefit to you expending brain power thinking about an unpaid bill.
Clearing Your Plate
Obviously it would be really easy to look at your to do list of 50 things, and set 50 followup.cc's for tomorrow and then you don't have to think about those things. Unfortunately, tomorrow you are going to get 50 emails and you're right back where you started, only a day behind now. However, if you really look at those tasks and realize that tomorrow is not the day to get everything done, you can start to spread out the work so that you have a clean slate to work from as each tasks comes to you. This is the essential difference between deferring and procrastinating. The former makes you more efficient while the latter just digs you deeper into a hole.
So maybe you really do need to call that person tomorrow and you absolutely have to get that excel spreadsheet done in two days, but researching that vacation for next summer can wait, as can that credit card bill that's not due for thirty days. The point is you should feel free to push things off longer than you ordinarily might, the results might surprise you.
What are some tasks you find hard to defer? Leave a comment below.a