★ 每周一译:掌控“优先次序”的艺术

Mastering the Art of Prioritization
掌控”优先次序”的艺术
从 Stepcase Lifehack 作者:Joel Falconer

There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often. By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning importance to tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day-figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last

我常常见到的,有两种方法可以排列你那些在你的待办事项里面的事务的”优先程度”。关于”优先次序”,我不会说分派任务究竟有多重要,真正重要的是决定哪些事情将取得时间上的优先次序–就是找出哪些任务你会第一个执行,哪些任务你将它摆到最后。

Approach number one involves tackling the biggest tasks first and getting them out of the way. The idea is that by tackling them first you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done-whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this method.

方法一,必先将最重要的任务抓住并将它们处理掉。我认为,这个方法,能防止你在完成任何一件事情–无论是多小的一件事之前滋生压力以及紧张的情绪。Leo Babauta是这论点的支持者。

Approach number two involves tackling the tasks you can get done quickly and easily, with minimal effort. Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

方法二,以最小的努力,将任务又快又简单的完成。认可这观点的人相信,先将小事情处理完,就不会因为这些小而杂乱的声音而分心

If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say GTD encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

如果你相信在你工作之前,查查电邮下、打个电话或将你Google阅读器里面的未读项目读完,能让你的工作有更高的产出,你就是这一观点的支持者。我猜,你肯定会说,GTD支持这个观点,GTD的理论研究者们建议那些初学者们,2分钟内能完成的事务,就应当马上去做,并完成它。

My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two. I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are. Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

我自己方法是,将这两者结合起来。我会将我一天内的事务列成一个单子,并画上三个代表着有限程度的星星在那些我必须在这天内完成的事务之前。这些任务,不一定是那些大项目,但是十之八九,它们会是。小任务的重要程度只值一颗星;我可以随时随地的从中脱身出来,甚至是在我查看着我的”Inbox”的时候,直到第二天我查看检查的时候。如果我是俗务缠身,那么第二天要和我吃晚饭的肯定很快就可以知道。

But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

不过我不打算将我的优先级系统推荐给你们。我也从没说过,我这个论点比Leo的”大石头理论”更优秀,同样,我也没有和”如果可以很快地完成,先做完它”这一理论比较。

The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button-I use it most days!).

带着优先次序的事情,其实就是什么时候去做的事情而已,而判断它的有限程度,则非常依赖你自己和你的工作方式。一些人需要先将小工作完成了,来找到那种清晰、有成就的感觉,那样才能使他们将力气集中在大项目里面。然而其他的人,则需要先将大任务给处理好了不然他们一整天都会沉浸在繁忙的工作里面去,而无法摆脱,特别是当Google阅读器”拒绝”清零的时候(私下的,我推荐你们按下”全部标为已读”–我最喜欢用它了)。

I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

我处于上述两种方式的中间,因为我的生活中,充斥着我个性化的工作系统。也许有一天我准备早上七点投入到一个很重要的项目去。其他的时候,在我能集中到那些重要的事情上去之前,我觉得我需要将我每个”Inbox”都清空掉,还要将桌面上的纸片都清理干净。我也知道我那些”低效”状态的时间区间并不在早上十一点或是下午三点,这与大多数人不一样,不过我的”高效”时间被分为好几个时间段。我可以感觉到,什么是将要到来,什么时候到来,我尽量让我的日程表保持灵活性(像液体一样),以便我去适应。

That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list; it allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done, but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

那就是为什么我喜欢树状的任务清单,而不是日程式的任务清单;它允许我去相信我自己(就像是自己给自己设定了一些规矩),让我像风一样达到”高效”状态。如果我不在”高效”状态的时候去工作,我完成的工作会变少,不过如果我每天在”高效”状态的时候去工作,我会比那些拥有和我一样工作条件的人完成得更多。

You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

也许你并不相信自己能摆脱繁忙工作的陷阱。你也许无法每天早上面对第一件事情就是那些大任务,那种感觉就像是在推一堵看不到也推不动的墙(沮丧)。你也许因无法将小任务排在大任务前面完成,而感到痛苦、内疚和紧张。

My point is: the prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

我的意见是:事务的”优先次序”并不重要。它对于很多人来说是很好的,至少有人拥护它,因为他们利用它来达到提高效益的目的。

What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you. And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others-in the world of personal productivity it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

重要的是,你没有被教条给套住,不断地去尝试不同的系统,直到你发现一个属于你自己的”事务处理优先次序”系统。如果你的系统很好用,那么就没必要去尝试其他系统–在这个世界里面,”个人事务优先次序”系统太容易被其他东西弄乱了,以至于你会发现你不能回到你的高效工作系统上面去。”如果它没有被打破,那就不要去理它。”。

In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to. If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong-multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

而实际上,这条铁则适用于起所有的个人高效工作系统,虽然都知道它适用于怎样的问题。如果你认为你每天繁重的任务都完成得很好,我就得说,你那错误的完成工作的方式在我的书里面是一个神话!不过如果你发现你从未完成过你赋予优先的事务,你也许需要反思一下上述所说的那些方法,并让你的系统调整成为一个高效的个人的系统。

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