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  • Writer's pictureBill

Two Tips to Getting Things Done

It's the busy season for gardeners and farmers, preparing the soil, planting seedlings, cleaning up the accumulated detritus of winter. For most folks, this work is enjoyable and invigorating, but it is on top of otherwise already-busy lives. Yet someone, we find the time necessary.

But what about the other things in life that need to be done, but aren't particularly enjoyable? It could be spring cleaning the house (who wants to take down, wash and rehang curtains!), or finishing your taxes (just 8 days left!), or any other task.

There are tons of self-help books about how to be more efficient and get more done, etc. etc. But if you don't have the energy or incentive to do the work, are you likely to go out and buy a book that will tell you how you're doing it all wrong?

I have two tips I've learned over the years (not that I am a scion of efficiency).

First, do a little something every day. If you keep throwing the W2s and the 1099s and all the other tax forms with the rest of the mail, your first task for filing taxes will be to pull all those things together — an annoying first step to a less-than-pleasant overall task. When the very first tax document arrives, get a manila envelop, or a rubber band, or alligator clip and put it in there. Whenever anything else comes in, before you put it down, put it with the rest of the pile. One task down, without any real effort and no time at all.

The second tip is what I think of as the "space program" timeline. When you have an important task ahead of you, realize that the first space rocket launch was on just some ordinary Tuesday (or Thursday maybe). The date became significant because of what was done. Whatever it is you need to do, just pick a date and plan to do it. You won't find a day on the calendar listed for "important events" or "key dates" — until you write it in. Otherwise, it's just Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Look at your calendar today and write down "open a retirement account" or "apply for college" or "plant the peas" for a particular Tuesday. It will make the event real and push you to get things done.

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