The Simple Task Method I Used To Eliminate Procrastination For Good.

Ev Chapman
April 12, 2024

They say it takes about 20 minutes to refocus every time you switch tasks.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 20 minutes to waste every time I switch between the tasks on my list. My time is limited. So I created a way to skip that 20 minute hazy moment where you’re faffing around…

  • Thinking where did I leave off here?
  • Procrastinating because you don’t know how to get started.
  • Fumbling around trying to remember where you put that email or document that you need to complete the task.

I call it the Breadcrumb Method and it saves me hours every week in wasted time & energy.

The method allows me to jump into (or back into) any task and now exactly what I should be doing within 60 seconds.

Here’s How It Work:

The Breadcrumb Method

The method is so simple that I feel kinda stupid for even calling it a ‘method.’ But the basic premise is for every task on your task list you leave your future self a little note on either how to get started (if it’s a new task) or what you should do next (if it’s a task you didn’t finish and needs another session).

Think about all the wasted time you’ve spent trying to remember where you got up to on a task, or wondering where to even start? The Breadcrumb Method eliminates all of that.

Essentially you’re leaving a little clue for your future self (just like the story in Hansel & Gretel. Get it.. breadcrumbs).

Here are three ways I use this method to save me loads of time throughout the week…

Leave Breadcrumb Notes During Your Weekly Review or Weekly Planning

Each week when I do my weekly planning session I’ll take 10 minutes to open each task I plan to do that week and leave myself a quick breadcrumb note. The idea is to make it easy for my future self to get started.

It only takes a few minutes to note down:

  • What the very next thing I need to do is.
  • Any thoughts I have on the task
  • Any docs or resources I need to and have everything available to get started.
Taking time at the beginning of the week to gather everything I need for tasks saves me so much time

Spending that bit of time at the beginning of the week saves me countless hours hunting for everything I need for each task.

Leave Breadcrumb Notes For Incremental Tasks

Quite often I won’t finish a task in one sitting. Either because it’s a large task that will take some time, or because I’ve been called into a meeting or some other distraction.

Rather than just close it up and hope I remember where I’m up to. I take less than a minute to jot down exactly where I got up to and what I need to do next.

A typcial Breadcrumb note on a large task that I need to come back to.

Now the next time I open up the task again it’s so easy to jump back in and get started because I know exactly where I’m up to. This helps with procrastination and moving tasks forward.

Leave Breadcrumb Notes For Recurring Tasks & Processes

We often think about SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) as something reserved for teams & businesses. But having your own personal processes for things you do on a regular basis will save you a lot of time & energy.

I document everything that I do regularly, and I use these processes as my breadcrumb notes. Even if I’ve done the task a thousand times it still saves me time to see a checklist of each step, or a template I can copy/paste.

It means I smash through recurring tasks even faster and I’m never hunting around for what I need to get them done.

I add templates & process checklists to recurring tasks to make it easy for me to get things done quickly

Breadcrumb notes on recurring tasks has been an absolute gamechanger. Especially for things I do less regularly like monthly, quarterly or yearly tasks.

BONUS: Upgrade Your Breadcrumb Notes With Voice

Jotting something down quickly via text is pretty easy. But I also utilise voice & video in breadcrumb notes to make it even easier.

Leave Yourself A Voice Note

I’ve never been a huge fan of voice or transcribing. That was until I started using Tana. With Tana’s in built voice note feature I can record a note, transcribe it & never have to listen back to the voice note again!

It makes leaving notes really quick & easy (even quicker than typing).

So quite often my Breadcrumb notes are voice notes. I just press the record button say hello to my future self & explain what to do next.

Record A Loom For Yourself

Last year I was in the top 1% of loomers — after recording over 600 loom videos in the year. I’m a huge fan of loom videos for async communication with my team. But also between my now self and my future self.

Top 1% of loomers!

For more complex tasks that need some visual breadcrumbs I like to record a loom video for myself. And let me tell you this is much less awkward than it sounds.

Just like I would leave feedback for a colleague on a landing page or a course outline or a presentation we are working on. I treat my future self like a team member I’m leaving feedback for.

I’ve found audio & video notes even more effective than text notes.

And investing that small amount of time now pays off big time in the future as I can jump in and out of tasks with so much ease — no matter how long ago I originally worked on that task.

So go ahead… start leaving your future self breadcrumbs and see how much time & energy you save yourself.

If you liked this article, here are three ways I can help:

  1. Want to get your best work done everyday? Download The Focus Hub Template (Notion + Tana Versions Available) — You’ll see the breadcrumb method in action!
  2. Want to get Sparked each week? Sign Up To The Spark Newsletter — Where I give you one actionable way each week to bring your ideas to life & share them with the world.
  3. Want to build your very own Knowledge System? Check out my Tana Fast Track Course — Find out how Tana can help you build, organise & share your unique knowledge with the world.

If you like this article and you want to get even more out of Tana, then check out my Tana Fast Track Course. Learn the fundamentals of working with Tana and the 6 Core Workflows to help you unload your thoughts & ideas, make room in your head to think & create and move through your day fully engaged & energised doing work you love.

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