A few months ago, I was at a conference and stopped in to hear a speech by Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, the number one entrepreneur-coaching program. He was talking about how thinking in terms of 2x growth is much worse than thinking in terms of 10x growth. This comment came as part of an explanation of how to grow your business. Sullivan explained that when you think in terms of doubling your revenue, sales, or growth, that it’s actually really bad for your brain because it puts you in a box. You become short sighted and the real solutions to your challenges never surface. By thinking in terms of 10x growth, you are forced to challenge your assumptions, come up with solutions that never existed before, and, quite simply, think outside the box.
This is now the way that I approach solving productivity challenges, but it's also applicable when it comes to deferring things you need to do to another day.
I always recommend FollowUp.cc to people who need a way to clear their mental slate and allow themselves to work on the problems right there in front of them. There are both good and bad times to work on certain issues. I find that I do my best creative work at night, but I do my best high-energy busy work in the morning. I am also better on the phone after having lunch. I find that the biggest mistake I make when initially getting people to start using FollowUp.cc is that I don’t warn them against is deferring lots of tasks until tomorrow. The result is, of course, that the next morning they have 50 things to do that they had procrastinated on rather than intelligently deferring them based on their schedule. When you start experimenting with deferring, take the approach that 10x is better then 2x.
There are of course things that really do need to be done tomorrow, and if you stop and think for a second, they should be pretty easily identifiable. As for other tasks or projects, ask yourself when you are most likely to actually complete them. It's irrelevant to ask when you would like to do them and only slightly less irrelevant to consider the deadline if one exists. Ask any college student to tell you the relationship between the deadline on an assignment, when they wanted to get it done, and when/if they actually did it, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Start testing your limits, deferring things for days, or even weeks. Not only will you be able to reclaim a healthy dose of mental freedom, but you will actually become more productive when it comes to getting things done.