Monday, April 1, 2024

Try the "do it tomorrow" method - it's not about procrastinating!

In the Evernote app, when you add a reminder date to a note, the app assigns tomorrow's date by default. I use Evernote everyday, and one day I realized that I felt relived seeing that "tomorrow" date.

The relief was realizing that I had a chance to complete my list for today.

This feature is consistent with advice from productivity expert Mark Forster in his book Do It Tomorrow: when a new task appears during the work day, add it to a list "to do tomorrow."

You may be thinking, but what happened to "do it now"?

It's still a thing!

But it should not be used at the expense of the tasks you have planned to do today, unless there is a convincing reason to do it today!

The science behind do it tomorrow.

The Do It Tomorrow method helps combats the "mere urgency" cognitive bias, which says that your brain interprets any new task as urgent, even thought you really know it is not.

By having a plan to automatically add new tasks that are not truly urgent to the tomorrow list you are honoring the urgency you feel in the moment - and as you will be putting it on the list in a place you can see it, you can always change your mind.

How to use the do it tomorrow technique.

Start with making a task plan for today - you can read about that here
Then, when a new task pops up during the work day, ask yourself if it can be safely deferred to later. If it can, add it the "do it tomorrow." If you finish today's tasks early, you have my permission to work ahead!

Here is a model of a paper daily task plan you can use to design your own on paper or in a task app:

Note: The Do it Tomorrow list does not literally mean you will do it tomorrow!

Instead, it give yous a cooling off period to more realistically assess the items actual priority, and from that, when it really should be done.

That's it. Give it a try.