How do you manage your task list? Everyone has a different method. My father used to put everything in his day planner. It was small enough that it fit in his pocket, it had a calendar and an area for notes. He used to say “If I don’t write it down, I won’t do it.” It worked wonders for him because he had a poor memory. He moved away many years ago and one time he forgot to do something I asked if he had put it in his planner. He told me he hadn’t been carrying his planner anymore… that explained a lot. If you have something that works, stick with it.
Some people carry Moleskines around with them so they have a running task list and a place for notes, ideas, and inspirations. Other people utilize the Post It note to it’s maximum capacity. I have an aunt who puts post its on everything, reminders, notes, you name it. Often you could miss a note meant for you because you thought it was one of her reminders. Many of my former co-workers had post its stuck to their monitor so they couldn’t forget something. (Top tip, don’t do this with your passwords, that’s not safe, write them down, but where you know where they are, not the whole office.) For others, it’s all about the white board. They keep a white board by their desk and have everything they need to do up there.
For me, I’m a fan of using google calendar. My google calendar looks like a rainbow there are so many colors for different calendars, but it works for me. I put appointments in there, but also tasks. I put the deadline in and any reminders I may need. Halfway through a project I may have a reminder pop up and ask me “How are you doing on Project X13?” because that’s the title of the event I made, and I asked it to email me a reminder. If I’m not where I need to be on that project, I know to get cracking.
Many people are all about the apps these days, and LifeHacker, a site I love and often get good advice from, has a list of what they think the top five apps are. I’ve heard a lot of people tell me they use the “Out of Milk” app for sharing tasks. Out of Milk is an app for creating and managing grocery lists, there are many other apps out there like this, this is the one I use because I can access it from my phone, my ipad, or my computer. My husband can access the same list from his phone (his is Android and I currently have an iPhone), his tablet, or his computer. This way who ever is doing the shopping has the latest list. Well Out of Milk also has a to do list, and many of my friends use this so their spouse or kids can see the list and mark when they finished something. Excellent when the kids are depending on allowance money for each task they complete. I think it could work with employees or project groups.
Another idea for sharing task lists with employees or project groups is Asana, it’s a site that not only lets you build task lists but allows you to delegate tasks and sign up for tasks. I’ve used this with a volunteer group and I can tell you when everyone is on board for using the site, it works, when one or two people don’t check the site or participate, it flops. So like anything else, you get what you put into it. But that’s the same for any of these ideas.
If you’re really trying to find some Task List Fu, you might want to check out the Getting Things Done movement, it’s a method that started with a book, then became a movement. There are podcasts, and apps, that can help you work this process into your every day life. For a lot of people it is a game changer. If you find that you just can’t get a task list right for you, that you are constantly missing deadlines, that you are unable to prioritize your list, check out the GTD movement, it’s for you.
How do you manage your task list? What’s your favorite method? Did I miss something that you think is the bee’s knees?