There Are Only Three Types of Work

There is a place for everything
In earth, or sky, or sea,
Where it may find its proper use,
And of advantage be
— Augustine


Queue: A Queue is a list of data items, commands, etc., stored so as to be retrievable in a definite order.

Queue: An English word where 80% of the letters are redundant.

Q: For our purposes, same meaning as Queue minus the extraneous.


There are three types of work (and one type of pre-work).

0. Define your Qs

Defining your Qs has to be done once initially and then reviewed occasionally. Every project (work that produces a unique result with a defined start, execution and end) should have it’s own Q. Operations (necessary work that produces the same or similar results and follows the same or similar process) should have their own Q. A miscellaneous or brainstorming Q can be helpful if it is sorted and cleared regularly. Define and use as many Qs as you need, but no more.

1. Filling Qs

Adding items to Qs occurs at any time. Each type of ‘inbox’ is its own ques, continually filling up until it is time to sort them out. Example inbox ques could be email, paper, action items, and reference. Splitting action items and reference material keeps you from having to think about it while sorting. If you don’t know if something is actionable or reference, just drop it in the action Q to be sorted later.

2. Sorting Qs

Sorting consists of three activities, all completed in one sitting. The first is pulling actions from inbox Qs into their respective projects. Then next is

Sorting which is, in essence, planning. Deciding what work will be completed in what order. The third is cleanup. Deleting redundant or non-essential items, compiling, and compressing.

3. Clearing Qs

Once inbox Qs are processed in and Qs are sorted, it’s time to clear items off your Q. Simply start at the top and do one thing at a time. This is the actual work. Filling and sorting is planning. Clearing is work. See ‘How to Clear’ for specifics.


Create the bare minimum to get started.

► Set up an Asana account

► 0. Define the first few Qs that come to mind. (Each Q as a Project in Asana)

► 1. Fill the first few Qs with items to complete. (Asana Tasks)

► 2. Sort the first few Qs into the order they will be complete in.

► 3. Pick the next thing to do on each project, assign it to yourself, and complete it today.

Why you won’t do it.

  1. This will take too long.

  2. I already have a to do list that’s good enough.


How to do it anyway

  1. Fix time, flex scope. If you have 30 minutes, spend 10 minutes on each action. If you have an hour, spend 20.

  2. If your to do list doesn’t include everything you’re committed to, with dates, and broken down to steps you can complete in one sitting, it’s not good enough.
Johnathan Deckert