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I always find it really difficult to set my targets, from my perception as both works are equally important for me.

My situation is- Currently I am working on a project that really needs my attention. Apart from this I am on a job hunt as well. Yesterday i received an email from another company(I applied in the company) and wanted me to write a code snippet(web crawler) in my own working language(php), however the job is in python language and I believe they just wanted to have an idea about the logic implementation.

I am stuck with the critical project that (believe it or not) such that its going to be a day and yet I have not submitted the code. I am not a code ninja, but yet I want to go for it.

This is the one out of many times faced situation in a general. How could I focus on equally important task ?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Along with importance, tasks to do may have other characteristics:

  • Urgency - simply speaking, a task may become obsolete at certain time;
  • Effort - amount of expenses you have to take to complete it (time is also expense);
  • Expected result - it may not be only money or something material. Received knowledge is also a benefit, for example;
  • Context - some tasks can be only done at home, at computer, outdoors, etc.

Tasks may be equally important, but they may differ by other characteristics. Using these values, you may order your tasks more effectively.

I'm using MyLife Organized for keeping track of tasks, and I attempt to fill those values whenever it is possible. This way, for example, if I'm at the computer and I know I'm having two hours of time, I filter my task list accordingly. Then, I may choose if I want to get done urgent, important, small tasks, etc.

In the example given, I see it is very possible that you are facing a conflict between urgent and important tasks. There is no ultimate answer what to prefer, but having the above criteria specified for your tasks, you may decide how to proceed and what to prefer to get done first.

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+1 for "facing a conflict between urgent and important tasks" –  swapnesh Jan 14 '13 at 17:33

If both are equally important, then there's no real "wrong" or "right" answer. Sometimes we waste a lot of time listing down pros and cons and overthinking it, when we should just pick whichever appeals to us the most.

We're all given an intuition, which is a very powerful tool for breaking down a complex problem instantly, although it doesn't work with certain things, like statistics.

But if you'd want a methodology: Choose the hardest one if you want to learn something. Choose the easier one if you don't actually want to do either. Choose the most urgent if you intend to do both.

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