I recently stumbled upon this rare gem and found it incredibly useful for people who are early in their career (such as myself!). Below are section by section TL;DRs from the authors. Hope you find it useful as well!

Just Start

You have a task that cannot wait until you have all the information about it to begin. It may be time sensitive, you may have a deadline, or part of the task may be to identify its parts. Most important, you feel internal or external pressure to begin and have some level of confidence about the task’s overall direction.

Contiguous Time Blocks

You have the information you need to complete a task and you are determining how you will complete it. You have several other tasks you need to complete and you frequently fragment your time. You feel that you must prevent interruptions to advance this task.

Single-Task Important Items

You have a task to do that you and/or others consider important. Performing this task simultaneously with other tasks breaks your concentration and you find that quality is suffering. You feel that the task warrants a quality level that is impossible to produce if you perform it with other tasks.

Put It Off

You have a task to complete and you are having trouble concentrating on it either because it is complex, you are fatigued, or it is large. You find that you are having difficulty advancing the task or that the task itself is becoming more confusing. Most important, you feel you do not have a good handle on how to organize the task, its output, or both.

Seek Clarification

You have a task to complete which is vague or has vague instructions. The task may have an aggressive deadline. Just starting the task to learn its direction does not appear to be an option. Most significant, you feel that you cannot begin the task unless you have clear instructions or you obtain additional information.

Batch the Simple Stuff

You have many tasks to complete and a number of them are relatively small. The tasks relate to each other. You have a sense that you are not making much progress and you have a block of time to invest in completing small, simple tasks.

Task Jar

You have many tasks to complete and some of them are relatively small, well known, and not urgent. You also have several larger tasks, which require larger blocks of time or are complex. You do not have a block of time to complete these small tasks, but there is time available between other more important or larger tasks.

Strike When You Are Hot

You have a task to do and need to progress through it quickly or make significant progress. You have times of the day when you feel you are more productive – times when you are at your intellectual, emotional, or physical best. To make significant progress or complete the task, you feel that you need to be at your best to maintain your focus.

Feedback Loop

You have a task and are unable to determine how long it will take to complete. You have the information you need to begin the task, but you believe there will be additional information requirements that may emerge as you perform the task. The task itself may be vague, but you do not require clarification. You feel that you need some knowledge of the task’s parts to determine how long it will take to complete.


You have many tasks to complete. These tasks can be large and complex or small and simple. You have the information you need to decide which tasks are more important. Each task has a different level of importance to you or someone for whom you are completing it.


You have a task to do for which you may not have the specific domain expertise and do not have the time to complete. You have people reporting to you or who are willing to help you complete the task. Others may be able to perform the task equal to or better than you.

Drop Unimportant Tasks

You have several tasks you need to complete. Some of these tasks are unimportant and may never need action. The task may have been on the bottom of your list of things to do for a very long time and may no longer be required. In addition, you may have had past experience with the requestor and can judge whether it is truly required or not.

Good Enough

You have several tasks you need to complete. You know that not everything that you do has to be perfect. You recognize that the level of quality for a task can be reduced, and still satisfy the requestor. You may be spending time on things that add little value.