How FTA Tasks Are Killing Your Productivity

From Thin Air Tasks

This is a guest post by Nicole Bandes.  Nicole is a best-selling author, podcaster and time management coach who focuses on helping entrepreneurs have more time for their “Why.” Click here to get your free copy of Nicole’s eBook,”Flying Lessons: Super Busy Bonkers to Super Woman in 3 Weeks or Less!

What is an FTA Task?

FTA = From Thin Air.

FTA’s are those “must do” items that come up right when you are about to jump into that major task or project you have been putting off for weeks. Somehow, you suddenly have something else that has to be done. Where’d this extra thing come from? Thin Air! Way up in the oxygen free zone where things get much harder to accomplish because we just can’t breathe.

Let’s say you have a big project due in two days. You’ve been working on it a little at a time but not quite gotten into your groove. It’s now coming up on crunch time and you decide to sit down and get to work.

All of a sudden you remember that you haven’t sent those really important emails out yet and the client is waiting to hear from you.  Then you need to make sure you have that file handy for your meeting in the morning so you go and look for it. And, you haven’t gotten your newsletter out so you should probably get that done too.

FTA’s sabotage our efforts. They pop into existence at the least opportune times and yet, they rarely add to our productivity. In fact, they usually don’t contribute to anything at all but suck all the time out of our days.

FTA’s usually come from poor planning. Most of the FTA’s that crop up would be easily avoided with proper planning and scheduling so that you know what you have to do and when you need to do it. However, sometimes FTA’s are things that really just need to be ignored.

How to avoid FTA’s

Step 1: Start keeping track of all of your projects and the NEXT step required on each of them.

Step 2: Keep track of any little tasks that you want to get done. Capturing ideas when you have them is key to not missing tasks or future obligations.

Step 3: Plan your month, weeks and days and be sure to review at least once a day to see what is coming up.

Here’s what you can do to handle FTA’s when they do pop up.

Step 1: Ask yourself if the FTA task is really necessary. If no, let it go and realize it is just your fear and procrastination getting in the way.

Step 2: If yes, ask if the task can be done at a later time.

Step 3: If yes, schedule it on your calendar.

Step 4: If no, do it quickly and with intention. Set a timer for speed. Work against the clock so the task doesn’t take any longer than necessary.

Avoid FTA’s and Increase Productivity

The best way to avoid FTA’s is to be sure to start planning your days with more reflection on what may crop up. When you can be aware of FTA’s and have plans in place, you can realize what they are and better handle them as they come.

Question: What From-Thin-Air tasks keep showing up in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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