Projects and Tasks are two different things (so track them separately)

There are a million reasons why we tend to have a hard time maintaining peak levels of productivity... some people have a difficult time staying focused for long enough to get anything done, while other people procrastinate so much that they can never get themselves to begin doing any of their work in the first place.

But for those of us who've learned to beat procrastination and harness our focus for long enough to get something meaningful done -- at some point our single-minded progress takes a wrong turn somewhere and ends up getting lost in this messy maze of projects and tasks... 

We can get so lost, in fact, that sometimes we can't even tell the difference between what we'd call a "project" and what we'd call a "task". And when this happens, we've gotta reflect on some words of wisdom from the Godfather of productivity himself, David Allen:

"... the real problem is a lack of clarity and definition about what a project really is, and what the associated next-action steps required are."

(from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity)

Stop mixing projects with tasks

As alluded to in the aforementioned quote by David Allen -- one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to productivity is that they mix and mesh together their projects and tasks when they should really be distinct and separate from one another.

If you try to do everything, you won't do anything.

Most of your goals can't be accomplished all in one sitting -- and when that's the case, what you're dealing with are projects -- not tasks. 

  • PROJECT = anything that takes *more* than *one step* to complete.
  • TASK = anything that can be done in a single step and usually in a single sitting.

How to separate projects from tasks.

Since projects consist of several tasks, it's important to have a separate list of projects and to keep a list of tasks within each individual project.


Every book summary we publish at is considered a project because of the level of complexity that goes into creating a summary from start to finish. 

If I just put "Do summary on Getting Things Done" on my to-do list, I'd get really overwhelmed because the project would've been way too big for me to do all in one sitting.

This is why it's treated as a project (aka: something that takes more than one task to accomplish).

And the best way for me to get this *project* done, is to chunk it down into smaller *tasks*, like this:

  • First, I read the book,
  • next, I write the summary,
  • after the summary is written, it needs to be proof-read,
  • and then comes editing,
  • after that comes the audio summary -- which needs to be recorded and edited as well.
  • Once ALL of that is complete, the summary is formatted and published in it's various versions, such as: PDF, Kindle, Dynamic Reader, and MP3.
  • Once all of these TASKS are complete, the PROJECT is officially completed and finally made available for you to read or listen-to on our website.

Easy, right?

If you're still having a hard time wrapping your head around all of this, I'd suggest picking up a copy of Getting Things Done, or checking out the summary over at (we've got tons of other awesome productivity & time-management books in our library, too)


Dean Bokhari

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