Tasks that Haunt You

May 20, 2013

It’s not Halloween, but I feel like a ghost theme is appropriate for this topic called Tasks that Haunt You. Here’s why.

Feeling Constantly Behind. Something that happens to all of us at work is we become accustomed to always being behind in our tasks, and there’s a part of our unconscious mind that worries about that. Since some of those tasks are important, an unconscious message that we repeat over and over in our head is “something important is slipping behind.” It’s a scary thought!

Haunted. The result is that all day long, every day at work, we are haunted by this message—like a ghost! You probably don’t even hear it anymore but it’s always there in the back of your mind as ongoing self-talk or worry. And that self-talk takes a toll on you. It raises your ongoing stress level; it lowers your self-esteem; and it prevents you from enjoying your work. It even can cause you to gain weight!

So what can you do?          Take Away the Negative Power. You need a system, any system, which clearly shows you your entire list of tasks. When you can see all your tasks clearly, in priority order, you’ll either 1) assess the big ones at the top realistically, or 2) realize that in fact nothing very important is left on your list. In either case, you take away the negative power of those haunting tasks. You’ll find that your background worry can go away because the demons are much less haunting when they are in plain sight. It means you can finally stop worrying.

Use a Good Task System. So use a good task system, one that clearly shows your prioritized tasks, and one that is easy enough to use to put all of your tasks in it, even those coming in from e-mail. When you do that, you’ll find your workday stress level goes way down, and you can start to enjoy work again. Which task system to use? Of course I’m biased; the 1MTD or MYN systems are my favorites and I encourage you to start using one of them today.

Michael Linenberger

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tasks that Haunt You

  1. Sandip says:


  2. Catherine says:

    I try to use your system, and find it a great way to prioritise and to remove future tasks from worrying me… however I still continually have too many things on my list, especially in the medium priority (and the low priority items rarely get done).
    I try to religiously go through the list at the end of each day and put tasks off to a suitable future date, and look for ways to get rid of them (do them quickly, delegate, consolidate, decide not to, etc).

    Do you have any tips for how to further manage these?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.