My head is big as a balloon. I keep repeating myself what I need to do, what not to forget. Often, I feel it is worse than it is, in reality.
The easiest might be to use the sticky notes, but in my case it would look like this: :-)
As a main tool for noting tasks I use the calendar in the e-mail. I use it surely for planning meetings, because it is very easy to add participants, or to find out if they are free at the time. (If you do not know about “scheduling assistant” try to google it, e.g. here>>) Sometime I also put some work activity for which I need to reserve the time. For others who are thinking to invite me to a meeting at that time I am “busy”, so I protect my time needed.
I further use calendar to remind me of anything, e.g. if in the evening I need to prepare something to take with me in the morning and so on. I appreciate the function “time to go”. If you input the place of the meeting, the calendar tells you based on your position and the actual traffic information when you need to get going to be on time. I personally hate late coming. :-)
Another fantastic helper can be one of different applications. I personally use Trello. Its advantages are:
It is free
You can use it on web, fully functioning
There is app for mobile or tablet, so I can note anything anytime
Trello has plenty of great functions:
The tasks are organized to Boards, each board can be dedicated to different project
On the board you can put different lists, on each you are than putting something like sticky notes with tasks
You can move each object by simply dragging it
In the tasks you can have e.g. lists, pictures, comments and more.
All can be shared – works as a nice team tool, it tracks all changes
There is a
whole bunch of similar applications, some might be even better. Try to look for
one that suits the best to your needs.
Last but not least, I keep using excel task list that I created many years ago. (Yes, I am bit old fashioned sometimes ;-) ).
advantages for me are the following ones:
I can split projects into tasks visually easy for me
It is simple to track also tasks of all team members while having the full picture of each project.
I can easily share it with anyone even out of my team by emailing it (no need for setting rights etc.)
I can copy each task directly to email and remind the responsible person or ask update
There are few rules that can help you not to get crazy from too many tasks:
Split huge tasks into smaller ones. If you leave the “mammoth in one piece”, you never start “biting it”. Or you will be running around it not knowing where to start. If you set clear steps, clear points, it will be piece of cake.
Set the priorities. My first boss told me: “Get used to the fact that you will never have everything done.” And she was right. Therefore, you need to sort the importance – on daily, weekly and long-term basis. You can use the marking of priorities: e.g. 1= what you have to do today, 2 = what can wait until tomorrow, 3 = what can wait for next week. Or any other way that works for you.
Plan. Every morning (or ideally the evening before) prepare a plan for the day. Distinguish the type of priority as above. Do count with possibility that some unexpected but urgent task will appear. Prepare your weekly plan on Sunday evening. You will be coming to the office on Monday much calmer, knowing exactly what to do first.
Track progress of the tasks. Use any kind of notes to see where you are today. Tomorrow you will not remember, how you agreed with your colleague to proceed, you need to note it.
Check also tasks and deadlines of other colleagues related to your project. There is no sense in excusing that you missed deadline of your project because a colleague did not give you some documents. Count with such possibility in advance, make your reserve. What is a priority for you needn’t to be primary priority for others. It is up to you to make it clear also for them.
Track also private tasks. Your kids will not understand why you forgot to pick up cake for their birthday party.
Tick off. It will be motivational for you when you see how much you already managed to finish.
I have put many more tips in my e-book about time management called 12 tips how to have time firmly in your hands, but it is not yet translated to English (stay tuned for that ;-))
The most important thing in nowadays complex world is to have own system. Just to have structure in things you do. Even when you are not primarily structured person, if you want to be highly effective and successful, you need to learn that. Start with small things like tracking your tasks and soon it will become more automatic. And you will realize that a bunch of tasks became a clear priority list and you can breathe easier. :-)
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