Is Your Backburner ACTUALLY Important? 🧐
A little how-to on battling the main struggle of prioritization
There's only one month left for the new year. Did you remember when you made a priority list of all the things that you want/need to do for the rest of your 2022 year? Now, let’s count how much you actually implement as of today.
If you have heard Niki’s new song, Backburner, you are more likely to know about the definition of Backburner. But for those of you who didn’t know about the term: When you put something on a back burner, you make it a low priority. In other words, you've decided that the task or activity on a back burner isn't immediately important.
However, tackling several things at once requires some prioritization. By implementing prioritization, creating a priority list comes naturally. That means you’re going to have a back-burner one way or another. But would there also be a chance that – perhaps – your backburner is something important that you’re just putting off?
In a series of studies, it is found that people usually chose to complete tasks that had very short deadlines attached to them, even in situations in which tasks with less pressing deadlines were just as easy and promised a bigger reward. The funny thing is – most of our meaningful tasks with greater impact tend to not have deadlines than those who have tighter deadlines. Your important long-term priorities might include:
Achieving public recognition
Improving soft skills
Build a healthy lifestyle
Scared for not reaching perfection when doing these things is what made people stay stuck. Instead of aiming for perfection, implementing strategies that will let you get back on track with less effort is going to be more effective than procrastination.
1. Schedule Important Task and Give Yourself More Room
Starting on a task that has a big impact is intimidating. This is why people tend to procrastinate more before starting meaningful tasks. Unknown but cardinal tasks often have a learning curve that makes how much time they’ll take to complete unpredictable. Working on them often feels more clumsy than efficient, which is another subtle factor in why we don’t do them.
By scheduling the tasks beforehand, it could give you way more time to process the task and eventually commit to it. For example, when agreeing to finish the thesis you postponed for so long, pick up the activity on an available time slot so you don’t have to compromise on any urgent activities of the day.
2. Isolate The Impact Variables
Big tasks often require substantial process. This thought alone makes the tasks look unapproachable and intimidating. Hypothetically speaking, when writing your thesis, you need more than five chapters to finish and it just doesn’t seem achievable if we see this as something that we need to finish in one sitting.
If you habitually set goals so lofty you end up putting them off, try this: When you consider a goal, also consider a half-size version. For instance, when committing to writing your thesis, it would be less intimidating to approach the task with the goal of focusing on finishing a certain chapter instead of thinking as a whole. This can help you create a more achievable task and let you commit easier.
3. Less Procrastinating, More Setting Small Goals
In conjunction to the previous tip, when using the half-size version approach, you will need to commit to follow-up tasks. By habitually setting achievable goals, you would be able to find a consistent pace in your routine and find yourself having less procrastination time than you’ve ever experienced. This will help you achieve your bigger impact tasks through an actual, working process rather than aiming for perfection for your first try.
You could also combine these with small gifts for yourself. You could treat yourself a cup of coffee or a warm croissant every time you’re able to finish a chapter of your thesis. Or, you could always pick the nicest cafe to help yourself easen your anxiety before starting the task.
Whatever positive things that help in giving you constant progress would always be nice to have.
If you’re struggling with prioritization, don’t beat yourself too hard. Creating a new habit has always been hard, but it is never un-doable. In reality, the amount of deadlines and decisions that we face, juxtaposed with the emotionally challenging nature of many important tasks, makes this struggle an almost universal one. Therefore, having your important tasks as your coincidental back burners has always been somewhat a struggle for all of us. Thus, it is important to be aware of the importance of each of your tasks to get back on track.
Now, you have the opportunity to identify which should be on top of your list and which should be your backburners. All you have to do is to just begin.
Want to read more articles about this? Read this: How to jumpstart your brain into doing The Thing
Inspired by How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent by Alice Boynes
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