Even with a planner to organize yourself, you can still find yourself having days where you don’t complete everything on your to-do list. You may have set yourself too many jobs or unforeseen challenges may have popped up during the day but this is where task migration comes in handy.
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Migrating is transferring uncompleted tasks so they can be done at a later date while ensuring you don’t forget about them. It’s symbolized by turning the task (•) into a >.
But repeatedly listing an uncompleted task day after day can be unproductive and tedious.
If you find yourself constantly migrating tasks, you need to consider why? Is it a hard task you’re intimidated by? An irrelevant task that you don’t really need on your to-do list? Or maybe it’s a complex project that needs to be broken down into more manageable steps?
I found that creating a ‘3- day rule’ holds myself accountable for prioritizing and completing my tasks. Just like writing down a task makes it more actionable, this rule sets a guideline to ensure it gets done.
What is the 3-Day Rule?
The 3-day rule has three main goals:
- To complete tasks within 3 days (you cannot migrate a task more than twice without having made a start on it).
- To get rid of unnecessary tasks clogging up your to-do list.
- Prioritizing tasks to make sure the most important ones are being attended to.
Complete Tasks Within 3 Days
For some tasks, by the third day it will have become more urgent and demand immediate action. Others don’t have set deadlines so it’s easy to procrastinate. Giving yourself a personal deadline creates a goal to work towards and “I need it done by Friday” is a lot more motivating than “I want to finish this one day”.
I recommend journaling at the end of each day, as a way to reflect on what you have achieved and to migrate any uncompleted tasks to the next day’s to-do list. Make sure you put those migrated tasks at the top of the list as this helps you see what’s been around the longest and what should be prioritized.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Tasks
But before you migrate any tasks over to the next day, evaluate them. If it isn’t urgent by the third day or is something that would be pointless to prioritize at the top of the to-do list, ask if you can live without it. If so, then cancel it and focus on more important tasks.
If it’s an important but not urgent task, it could be migrated to the next week or an undecided future date (by adding it to next month’s spread, your future log under a specific month, or to a brain dump for unscheduled tasks).
On the third day, I prioritize. I place a symbol next to the tasks that have already been migrated twice and make sure they’re the first to be worked on that day. The symbol could be an asterisk or exclamation point, anything that will communicate to you that it’s urgent and must be completed that day. Working on the priority tasks first eliminates the risk of being distracted or focusing on other less important tasks instead.
How you handle task migration depends on the type of task and what motivates you.
Other ways could be setting up a reward system, where you treat yourself once you’ve completed a daunting task you have kept putting off. Or have a weekly to-do list that provides the flexibility to complete tasks anytime within a week.
I’d love to know if you have any tricks for task migration.