When a short task isn't short

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Castanea_d., Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Organist/Choirmaster
    Location:
    Iowa
    Home Page:
    I got caught in a trap yesterday - what should have been a two or three minute task (posting a blog entry that was already written and ready to go on Blogger). But I couldn't get it to include a PNG graphic, something I've done before with ease. I stayed with the task, thinking "it must be something simple. Just another couple of minutes and I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong."

    Ninety minutes later, I got it: the issue was the ad-blocker on my browser, which I have added since I last put a graphic into a Blogger post. Disable the ad-blocker, add the graphic, hit "Publish," done.

    The issues:
    - If I had known it would take a long time, I would have bookmarked the task and put it on the TBD list.
    - Even after I ran into a snag, if it weren't for the feeling that if I tried just one more thing it would be done, I would have laid it aside for another day.
    - The net result was about an hour less of practice time at the organ than I had hoped for. It showed in this morning's service playing, one of my principal accountabilities. My Blogger site is something for which I feel accountable, but at a much lower level.

    This is not the first time I have gotten caught up in a task that I keep thinking is almost done, and the finish line keeps moving just a little further away. For me, it seems to happen especially with computer-related things; I've spent whole nights with issues such as layout details with my music notation software, trying "one more tweak" to see if I can get it to look right on the page.

    So, my question: when should I say "Enough is enough," and put the should-have-been-short task into the TBD list instead of trying to finish it?
     
  2. sholden

    sholden Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Lecter likes this.
  3. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    28
    When dealing with two-minute tasks, perhaps one rule could be that if anything whatsoever goes wrong, the task goes on a list instead.
     
    Geeko likes this.
  4. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,347
    Likes Received:
    174
    Trophy Points:
    63
    What do you mean by "enough is enough"?
    Did you know in advance that you would have to solve the PNG problem?
    No, you didn't know! And you didn't know how long it would take to solve this problem.
    But you've solved it! A big win!

    IMHO this situation is very similar to traveling by car from Seattle to Portland and having a flat tire near Tacoma. Tacoma is not "enough". Your goal is Portland, not Tacoma, so you have to "waste your time" to replace the tire. Of course the situation would be different if all four tyres were flat... ;-)

    But... if practice time at the organ is a top priority, I would block time for this activity.
     
  5. treelike

    treelike Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If I followed that rule then nothing would ever not go on a list!
     
  6. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Organist/Choirmaster
    Location:
    Iowa
    Home Page:
    Thanks to all for the good advice! TesTeq found the key for my specific situation on Saturday - practice time that day is a crucial activity, and I should time-block it. Set an alarm when it is time to start. If (say) I was still puzzling over PNG files and ad-blockers, the alarm is my cue to lay it aside, go upstairs to the organ and practice. I already use alarms for impending meetings, etc.; I just haven't been doing it for practice. I think that I will now, at least on Friday and Saturday when it is most imperative.

    More generally, I guess that it is a balancing act. Sometimes it is best to stay with the task when you have momentum and hopefully get it done. Other times it is best to recognize that this is not a little two-minute thing after all. Not infrequently, what starts as a little quick task turns into a full-blown Project.

    As Mr. Allen often says, "Trust your instincts."
     
    TesTeq and JodieFrancis like this.

Share This Page