One of the things I complain the most about is never being able to complete my task list. There’s work to-do’s, personal to-do’s, parental to-do’s, to-do’s to check on other’s to-do’s and the list goes on and on. Unless you are superhuman, we all need a little help organizing and efficiently getting through our task list.
Running three separate businesses, I have tried and tested SO many different tools with my team. Some tools we loved more than others, but all have pretty different uses/strengths.
Today I’m sharing my favorite task management apps, programs, habits, and tips. Whether you take these into the office or into your personal life, they have really helped me actually finish my task lists by the end of the day.
BUSINESS TASK MANAGEMENT for GROUP WORK:
Group work requires organization and clarity. It’s important to know who is doing what so that all the pieces can come together to be a successful project. This is where task management tools come into play. One program that I love is “Flow”.
It allows everyone in my team to see exactly who is doing what. I can see the tasks I have left to complete for a project, can chat in the notes with my team, and assign tasks to people. It’s pretty easy to use and holds me and my team accountable for the things that we need to complete. There is a desktop program as well an app for when I’m on-the-go.
Sakura ( my BFF and business partner) introduced me to another great task management tool called Milanote. Think of it as an online bulletin board or storyboard, where anything and everything can be added as needed. This one is PERFECT if you are like me and you have one million ideas about a project and it’s hard for you to keep them organized in one place. It is very helpful not just to create task lists but also also create moodboards, idea boards, and project flows.
Different people can be added to boards and work together on tasks. This is especially helpful if you are the leader of a project; it makes sure that you can assign tasks to people as needed. The unique thing about Milanote is that it’s so visual, which works incredibly for our creative team.
BEST TASK MANAGEMENT TOOLS for Yourself
Don’t have time to type out your “To Do’s”? No problem. iPhone’s (sorry I am assuming everyone has an iphone but I have not had any other type of phone for years) make it super easy to document every ‘to do’ item that comes to mind without having to type it. Just follow these 3 easy steps:
- Press and hold the home button (or if you have an Iphone X the button on the right side of the phone) until a screen comes up that says, “What Can I help you with?”
- Simply speak your reminder. ex. “Remind me tomorrow at 1:00pm to bring snacks to Diego’s class”
- Edit any grammar and spelling errors!
That’s it! Your reminder is set and you’re ready to continue with your day. This is super useful when you’re extremely busy and you don’t have time to stop and type (or write!) it down. I use this ALLLL the time! Ideas and to-do’s pop up on mind all the time so this is a great habit to get into so you don’t forget what you were thinking about, I hate when I know I have to do something but I can’t remember what that was!
Write it out.
Sometimes our ‘To Do’ lists feel like a mile long! When attempting to complete it all at once, it can feel like nothing gets finished.
One the MOST important tips I have learned over the years is to write down your top 3 most important tasks, even before you open your computer. Take out a piece of paper and a pen and jot them down.
Then make an intentional effort to get those things done for the day. That way, instead of starting many tasks (and not finishing them) you can complete 3 things off your ‘to-do’ list by the end of the day. I have come to the conclusion that having the goal of always being done with my to-do list it’s impossible so instead I think about what are the items causing me the most stress, the most urgent ones, if I am able to complete those on one day then I feel satisfied instead of unaccomplished.
Schedule time for the “not fun” tasks.
I schedule everything! From project meetings to working out, nothing goes unscheduled. (See here for some of my favorite apps that help me schedule!) This includes those less than fun tasks. You know that task you’ve been putting off for sometime now? Or the weekly chore you always seem to procrastinate on?
Block out a section of time one day a week, each week, to do the things you do not want to do. This may look like taking an hour each Wednesday morning to make sure all the bills are paid. Or maybe Thursday afternoon you work on the project you’ve been putting off for an hour and a half. Doing this will get you into the habit of completing those things and not letting them loom over you any longer! The most amazing thing about this is that before you know it you might have a clean garage or an organized closet. We tend to put off the things that we don’t like to do and focus on the ones we enjoy but in this way you get a good balance of both!
Responding to emails can take up so much time (if you let it!) One thing that I have found to be helpful is timing yourself. Setting a timer for yourself ensures that you spend only that amount of time working on something.
For example, I may set a timer for 1 hour and spend that hour answering emails. After the hour is up, I will stop emailing and move onto the next task. This makes sure I don’t jump from task to task (which is a big no no), spend too much time one task, and I can get a feel for how much time I usually spend on certain tasks. I am always behind on emails hahah but before I would spend all day just on emails now I have a good balance between my inbox and other tasks.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTIVITY TIPS
Go into Social Media with a Purpose
Social media can eat up a lot of my time. What was supposed to be a quick 15 minute post can quickly turn into an hour of time engaging with my followers, and it’s easy to tell myself it’s “work”.
If you need to post your picture, limit your purpose specifically to that, and then close out of the app. If you need to engage with your followers, set aside 30 minutes to strictly communicate with them. You can even use the timer method, as mentioned above, to make sure you do not get carried away!
Sorting your email can be a hassle. That’s why I like to use “Sortd” to keep track of everything. This add-on allows you to organize your emails according to your needs.
Have three different projects you’re working on? Organize your emails by each project. Do people email you with things they need to you to do? Add it to your “To Do” tab and check it off when you are done.
Sortd allows me to prioritize my inbox instead of just responding to the immediate emails, and I’m less likely to miss an email.
My last and most important piece of advice, WAKE UP EARLY! this has changed how much I can get done in a day. I get more done from 4-7 am than I probably get done the rest of the day 🙂 I wrote a post on my morning routine here in case you want to know what it looks like.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope it has given you some valuable info!