Sort the small

Bonjour. In this video, I want to share an important principle to better manage all your tasks.

A few months ago (pre-pandemic) I was in Singapore working with senior leaders from a large global company. During the session we had a discussion about task management and how to cope with the endless bombardment of tasks every day.

You open your inbox, you get tasks. You read your Slack or Teams’ messages, you get tasks. You go to a meeting, you guessed it, you get tasks.

I am often asked how to keep up with this constant flow.

One of the principles we discussed today is ‘sort the small’. What I mean by ‘sort the small’ is that you need to make a difference between the time-consuming task and the quick task.

Time consuming tasks are ones that take you more than 5 minutes to do and they need to end up being scheduled into in your calendar. You can write them up in a task list if you want to, but the best process is to block a time straight away in your calendar so you can action the task at a later date.

Quick tasks are ones that only take you only a few minutes to do, and shouldn’t be scheduled into your calendar. You can either do them now, the first time you touch them, or if you really can’t do them now, use a task management system to remind you to do it at the right time or the right day. I personally use Outlook task but there are many other great task management systems out there.

You allocate this task to the right day in your task management system and then you can completely forget about it as your system will remind you about it at the right time.

This is ‘sort the small’. Put any time-consuming task in your calendar. Tasks that can be done under 5 minutes , either do them now or use a task management tool so they can be done on a specific date.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. I hope that is useful for you.

Have a great day,


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