Author Profile Picture

Rod Webb

Glasstap Limited

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

The Forgotten Task


Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote a blog. It’s amazing isn’t it how time slips by when you start to put things off? Those tasks that you initially put off for a few days, and then a week, and then a month slowly sink in a quagmire of good intentions.

A quick glance at my email inbox now has revealed at the very top an email I sent myself in February 2009. An email that I’ve studiously ignored for two whole years! I’ve shocked myself with that revelation – I’m genuinely amazed that it’s two years since I had that idea for a new training exercise, started working on it and then got stuck, or bored, or sidetracked. The trouble is, it’s been there for so long that I’d stopped even noticing it –it’s like my brain’s been telling me that my inbox starts about four messages down. (There are two other long-standing messages – one from May 2009 and another from March 2010.)

The really strange thing is that I consider myself pretty organised these days (I didn’t used to be). If I’ve not managed my virtual in-tray (because that’s what email is) down to about 20 emails by the end of each week, I feel I’m losing control. 

I suspect I’m not alone in having incomplete tasks languishing somewhere like this. I can’t be the only one of us adept at turning a blind eye to things I don’t really want to do.

Which is why we should all take time periodically to review outstanding tasks and ruthlessly apply one of three Ds: Do it, Dump it or Delegate it. And stop doing the other one: Defer it. 

It might help if I think about why I’ve been deferring the task for so long. The reasons could include:

It’ll take a long time.

I won’t enjoy it.

Neither of these are good reasons to Dump the task. If the task is important and I am genuinely the best person to complete it then I need to be disciplined, put time aside and Do it. Perhaps I can reward myself with a bar of chocolate or some online shopping when it’s complete (and not before!) 

But, perhaps those aren’t the reasons why I’ve not completed the task. Perhaps, actually the reasons look more like this:

I can’t see the point.

The task involves a lot of effort with very little return.

It’s poor use of my time.

I want to dump the task but don’t want to say no to someone.

I’m not the best person to complete the task.

In this case, I need to consider Dumping it or Delegating it.

The key theme here is discipline. Effective time management demands it from time to time. 

Well, I promised Louise I’d have a blog to her by the end of the weekend so that’s a big tick for me. (A public commitment to complete something can be a useful driver).

As for that task, well, it’s the weekend now, but I’ll look at it first thing on Monday, probably, or at least as soon as I’ve dealt with the emails that come in over the weekend, unless something else crops up…..soon anyway. ;-)

Author Profile Picture
Rod Webb

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!