In the ministry — and — I am sure — in almost all areas of life — there are tasks that never seem to be completed. It could be that the reason for this is that they are what Scott Young calls “Open – Ended Tasks” — tasks that have no real specific goals.
Here’s what he writes about open – ended tasks:
Stop working on open-ended tasks. These waste your time, cause procrastination and accomplish little. Open-ended tasks are any tasks that don’t have a clear end point. They are activities like “studying”, “working” or “putting on finishing touches”. They don’t have a stopping point where you can clearly say, “I’m done.”
He suggests you “close” your ‘open – ended” tasks.
1. Define exactly what needs to be done. Know what your end result looks like. If your studying, an end result could be getting an A in your course. If this is blogging, it could be getting a certain traffic volume in six months, or sustaining a certain posting rate.
2. Define exactly what you will commit to. With open-loops there is always more that can be done. Close those ends by defining the amount you are willing to commit to. If it takes four hours a day for you to reach that A, then commit to four hours.
3. Define exactly the tasks that need to be accomplished. What steps do you need to take in order to learn to get an A? If you just set aside four hours without a clear to-do list, you’re wasting time. Make a to-do list for each day and week.
Closing open – ended tasks.
It can help you be more productive — and give you more time to relax!
Read Scott Young’s post here.